A few weeks ago, I said my new promise to myself was no mobile devices while the Lil Boss is awake. That post was inspired by an early wake-up call when Lil Boss picked up my phone and proceeded to play around with it, quizically trying to understand why I liked that little box thing so much. Now if the kid knows that mummy likes her phone, mummy is spending too much time with it.
(I also reckon that if I am denying him the use of mobile devices, it is only fair that I have to manage without them too. This sense of democracy will not last long. )
Doing as I preach aside, the change is also timely because I do not like the insidious ways mobile usage has changed my behaviour over time. With a smartphone in hand, I live less in the present moment because it is so easy to snap a photo for record keeping. I am less introspective because each picture, designed to be shared almost instantaneously with the nearest and dearest, and not for reflection.
I draw less, paint even less, and neglect my journals because the distraction of the Internet beckons constantly. I find micro-blogging easier that this churn of words now, when verbosity would have been my problem before, because mobile was not meant for extended typing.
I have stopped connecting, because I am not the only one hooked to my device. Dinner with my family is exasperating now because either my father or my brother will be more preoccupied with his phone than he is in actually conversing with family. I don’t think I have spoken more than ten sentences in a conversation with my brother in the last few months.
I am more impatient without a device in hand – forget my phone while waiting in queue? Torturous. – and I crave instant gratification. See that poster for a show? Scan in the QR code, get to Paypal and purchase a ticket, while waiting for the bus to turn up. I see less of the world that is not reflected on my tiny screen amd I am inundated with random pieces of information that only clutters up the mindspace.
Now imagine, if I as a digital immigrant who held my first smart phone in my twenties could be this altered, what reality does my son live in now that infants have access to these devices? The future, like apocalyptic fiction, fascinates and horrifies me.
My experiment with mobile cold turket has not always worked out well in the weeks since, but I am more conscious of my usage now, and that’s half the battle.
Now where did I place my phone?