It’s no news that most people these days have smart phones. You’d be hard pressed to step outside the house and not see someone (usually a Gen Yer) with their head down and their thumb scrolling endlessly across the screen.
Ask them a question or say hello and the response is often a well-placed grunt – if you’re lucky.
It’s enough to make the most placid of baby boomers into grumpy old buggers!
To be fair though, we can’t just blame the kids here.
Whether you’re young or old, generations across the board have embraced the new digital age and all of the benefits that come along with having a smart phone or tablet at your fingertips.
It seems that everywhere you go people are spending their time with their heads buried in the screen as they text their friends or scroll through their Facebook feed.
While mobile phones are a great way to stay connected, and provide hours of entertainment, there is a serious side to it. Experts say they are also having a negative effect on our social skills, especially when it comes to young adults and kids.
This revelation isn’t lost on many people, especially over 60s, who often watch their children and grandchildren immersed in their phones for hours on end.
One over-60 mother says she gets incredibly frustrated when her son comes over to visit and picks up his phone in the middle of a conversation.
“I just think it’s so rude and such bad manners to be looking at your phone when you’re having a conversation with someone,” she said.
“Family time should be just that. I try to ban phones at the dinner table, but it always manages to make its way into his hands somehow and from that moment his only half there.
“He’s totally distracted by what’s going on behind that screen.”
It’s not just our social skills that are being affect by phones either, it’s also our manners.
Dinner time at the table used to be spent talking about each others’ day and catching up with family. Now, you’d be hard-pressed to sit down for a meal without someone picking up their mobile to respond to a text or check to see who liked what on Facebook.
It’s a pet peeve for many parents, especially those who only get to see their children every now and then and are forced to put up with a distracted effort as their kids get sidetracked by what’s happening on the screen.
It’s not just a habit though. Phones have become a real addiction for many people, both young and old. They can’t tear their eyes away from the screen; they have a legitimate fear of missing out on what’s happening on social media and it is impacting their lives.
Outside of the home, smartphones are literally causing accidents on the streets as distracted drivers and pedestrians struggle to pull their eyes away from the screen.
A National Safety Council report stated that in the US alone, around 11,101 pedestrians were injured due to incidents involving mobile phones.
These people hurt themselves by walking into things, tripping over, and even being hit by cars because they were paying more attention to their phone than what was going on around them.
In light of these statistics some countries are considering enforcing the same laws for pedestrians as drivers – meaning you could be fined for walking and looking at your phone.
The idea has been embraced by many people who say it’s high time pedestrians on their phones faced the same rules as drivers.
Others though say a law change is a bit of a stretch and people need to accept this is the world we live in now.
Either way there are calls for something to be done, lest we lose our good manners and social skills for good!