If I had to pick just one thing that changed our lives more than anything else in this century, I would have to say it was the smart phone.
This started out as a mobile phone and then the companies started adding apps so now we can connect to the world wide web and everything in between. I don't even know why we are still calling it a phone since it is probably the least used function on this device.
At one time you would see people walking, driving, sitting, even running or annoying people by having loud conversations in public. Not so much these days now you see people with shoulders hunched and head down, staring at the small screen they hold in their hands.
Their concentration is so rapt that people have been known to run their cars off the roads, walk into closed doors, telephone poles and out into traffic with sometimes fatal results. It is no joke that Toronto is trying to pass a law that would incur a fine if you were caught crossing a street while looking at the small screen.
The mobile phone was an attempt to keep ourselves connected, now our problem is we are too connected. This small screen has become an addiction with many. They just have to see what is on that screen at every moment.
I head a news broadcast the other day about teens being sleep deprived. They should be getting nine hours a day and on the average are getting seven. The culprit is the smart phone and the continuous texting that they are doing.
This is serious business, sleep deprived teens are not functioning as they should. They are not learning as they should. One woman said their house rule was no smart phones in the bedroom. I think that one goes without saying.
I think we need to wake up and realize that we have another addiction that needs to be dealt with. I also think that parents had better start thinking about, does my young child really need a smart phone that will lead to an addiction?
We know we have a problem, but are we prepared to do anything about it? There is going to come a time I believe in the near future when we are going to have to deal with it.
Walter Jones’ column appears weekly in the Amherst News.