I love my Apple products. My MacBook, iPhone and iPad are always nearby. Some would say that it’s disappointing that I don’t have an iWatch or iPod too. I will admit that I am slightly manually operated, but I have come to love and embrace my technology products. And I believe that I am not unique. I am almost embarrassed to admit that in my household we own three laptops, three iPads and two iPhones. We may be on the edge of being smartphone and tablet addicts.
I found a survey from 2016 that showed that 76% of Canadians own and use a smartphone. That was up from 68% in 2015 and 55% in 2014. Common sense tells me that the number has increased in 2017 and undoubtedly has surpassed 80%. Among my close family and friends, I would say that number is actually 100%.
Everyone around me seems to own at least one smartphone and usually at least one tablet and/or computer as well. We carry our smartphones with us everywhere we go. Some would even joke that we would remember to take our smartphones with us before we remember to take our children.
People’s eyes are glued to their technology as they walk in the mall, commute to work or relax on the couch at home. What did we do with our time before we had smartphones? Did we actually stand in line and look around us or talk to the person beside us? When we sat on the bus on the way to work, did we actually read a newspaper or a paper-based book? When we waited for our friend to arrive at the local café, what did we do with those three minutes?
Children are the technology generation. I will never forget the moment when my daughter, Julia, about two years old at the time, showed her grandmother how to use an iPad. Well, kind of. Julia crawled across the table at the Apple store, swiped her fingers across the iPad, tapped on Angry Birds and began to play. One-year-old Nessa sees a screen and immediately taps on it, as she knows it will respond.
As I write this blog I am also hollering at Julia to get off her iPad and get dressed, brush her hair and make a card for her cousin. She doesn’t hear me and doesn’t even notice I am standing beside her, raising my voice. She is focused solely on the game on her screen. Clearly My Town Home, Minecraft, Plants vs Zombies and a whole host of other apps are more interesting and more important than listening to her mother.
The word “wait” has taken on a new meaning in my life the last couple of years. People around me, usually my kids, have to finish a game move, a YouTube video or a text before they can talk to me. It seems to be smartphone or tablet first, face-to-face communication second.
Can you think of a time you may have walked into someone on the street because your face was down, focused on your smartphone? Have you ever missed your stop on the bus or subway because you were too engrossed in your What’s App conversation? Have you ever sat at a meeting at work, with your smartphone hidden under the table as you text your best friend, then realize that your boss is asking you a question – and you have no idea what to answer because you missed the whole meeting?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are a smartphone or table addict. And that’s okay. Technology is part of our lives today. Maybe sometimes we go a bit too far and forget about the world around us. Sometime we ignore our mother when she is asking us to make our bed or brush our teeth. Maybe we need to look up and listen up a little more.
In the meantime, back to my eight different games on Words with Friends. I have to keep my winning streak going against my brother-in-law.