In his book, “Are You Fully Charged?”, author Tom Rath calls the constant use of our smartphone technology a ‘digital pacifier’. No doubt these ‘tools’ are useful when used appropriately but they have become a source of constant distraction.
To me they are usually an indication that someone isn’t living a purposeful life. It can sometimes appear that one’s purpose is to answer their phone or other device. I have fallen into this trap and this book and research has kicked me out of the stupor of being pacified by my device.
In fact, a 2015 study titled “The iPhone Effect”, shows how the mere presence of smartphone can ruin a conversation. (from the book)
I would add it not only ruins a conversation but can also be the source of ruining any relationship, even a marriage, or child parent relationship.
An experiment with 200 participants revealed that simply placing a mobile device on the table resulted in detrimental conversations. While the device was present, the quality of the conversation was rated as less than fulfilling when compared with conversations that took place in the absence of mobile devices.
People reported having higher levels of empathetic concern when phones were not visible.
If you want to know more about this, purchase Rath’s Are You Fully Charged?
As well, you can explore further this ‘hot topic’ by exploring the research called The iPhone Effect.
The one thing I have decided to do as a result of reading Rath’s book and this research is to leave my phone in my car when I go to a meeting, and to remove my phone from any group interactions I have with clients, family or one to one relationships.
I want to be sure that the person or persons in front of me know that I ‘see’ them and that they matter to me more than any device, even if it’s a ‘smart device’.