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« "Just for women" | Main | I'm thankful I was boy crazy »
Thursday
May172018

You can't put the internet toothpaste back in the tube

I tried to read the book 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You. I saw recommendations for it, but I got bored about one-third of the way through, and I was generally underwhelmed. In the past few weeks, I've read articles by people talking about how to use their phones less because of what it's doing to their concentration, relationships, etc. I totally get that. I have a husband who is a news junkie, and having news at his fingertips thanks to a smartphone is the answer to all of his news loving prayers. Yes, I get that.

I don't like reading on a teeny screen. Now that I have an iPad, when I want to use Pinterest away from my desk top, I use my iPad. I use my phone as a phone and for texting my kids and friends. Why would I want to read a book on a dinky little screen? I don't play video games, period, so something like playing games on my phone is not an issue. Yes, I could live without a smartphone, but I do like to know that I have the capabilities it offers when I really need it. I don't have any problem at all with leaving my phone in another room and forgetting where it is; until it rings, of course, and then I am running.

I can't say the same thing for using the Mac on my desk, though. One morning, during the school year, I was awake (courtesy of the Beagles who live here) by 5:30 and ready to work. I decided to check the student platform at school to see how I'd done on a Greek quiz. That meant getting online and signing in. Well, I was already online, so I figured I would check my email. And then, when I saw the emails in my "promotions" tab, which featured a new book, I was distracted to that site. I wasted thirty minutes. And where was my phone? Upstairs, charging.

Is the problem really the phone? Aren't the same distractions an issue with any device we use to go online? As long as we conduct much of our lives online, it's always going to be a struggle to stay off, whether we use a phone, watch, or reading device. I have to go online to check my progress at school. I have to go online to register for my classes. If I want to contribute to paperless billing with my hydro provider, I have to go online to find out what my monthly bill is. You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube, so learning to use it without a mess is the goal.

I can't say that my husband's tendency to spend too much time reading the news began with the smartphone or even online news providers. It was there when we were married thirty-one years ago. And manifested itself in paper. Everywhere. Magazines. Newspapers. Well, I have to admit that I'm glad that is gone.

Don't blame your smartphone for being a distraction. If it wasn't that, it might be something else.

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