Mobile phones are winning over life: it’s funny to look at how

Leading demographer Bernard Salt has written an entertaining and rather derogatory column in the Australian this weekend professing the evilness
New Zealand

Leading demographer Bernard Salt has written an entertaining and rather derogatory column in the Australian this weekend professing the evilness of the mobile phone and its prolific users. His satire is laced with truth when he proclaims that the mobile phone is taking over the world but he has criticised the phone’s users in a way we don’t think is fair but can be turned a little funny and nostalgic. Our progressive over 60s here are incredible users of mobile phones and tablets and we think might you have something to say about the new ways versus the old. Let’s share some memories.

“The mobile phone has replaced the wristwatch, the alarm clock, the calculator, the bank teller, possibly the television and of course the landline. The mobile phone has conquered old technology and is weaselling its way into our emotional lives”.

“I have heard that some people, sad people admittedly, reach for their mobile phone before they reach for their partner in bed. I have heard that some people, needy people, check out their mobile phone before they get out of bed. I have heard that some people, emotionally disconnected people clearly, do not know their children’s phone number because it is committed to automatic dial in their mobile phone”.

More people than Mr Salt perhaps realises in fact might feel insulted by his statement above so we’ve decided to have some fun with it.

Mobile phones have become a critical and fulfilling tool for many, including older generations. Let’s consider the technologies that have failed to evolve at the pace the mobile phone has managed to in keeping on inching its way into our lives, even the lives of the over 60.


He says some lie in bed at night and look at their mobile phones when they would used to have been looking at their husbands. Have husbands failed to evolve? Or have mobile phones become more interesting? That offers a large question to wives everywhere.


We roll over in the morning and check Facebook and our alerts on the front of our phones. Why is that? Could it be that all our information and insight is compiled in one useful place instead of across several 12-hour-old newspapers that grace the footpath? I am not disappointed at the convenience. Are you? I no longer have to get cold or dewy feet on the trip to the front lawn.

Alarm clocks

My alarm clock on the side of my bed glows like the northern lights – so much so that I have turned it to face the wall. And it never ever is set to ring because the phone next to it much more reliable and easy to use. There used to be days when the power went off that my alarm failed, or that human error in setting the alarm caused severe distress. With my phone, I can set two alarms or three, minutes apart. And the ring is annoying enough to get me up.


My calculator is constantly stolen from my desk at work by needy people, leaving me to calculate using the only tool that is religiously by my side, my mobile phone… why wouldn’t I? It is not something my co-workers steal for fear of its relentless ring.

Bank tellers

When banks imposed $4 to visit a bank teller about five years ago, the immediate logic we all went with is that they didn’t want to see us, and they don’t! Our mobile phone is a much more hospitable companion. It doesn’t say no anywhere near as often as a bank teller would, nor as publicly.

The Landline

When the landline rings in my house we know it is one of two people. My mother in law or my mother. Even telemarketers have stopped calling on it. When I occasionally remember it is there, I wonder at why we keep it but find it hard to “cancel” a phone number I have had for 15 years… silly nostalgia?

An address book

Why would I commit a phone number to memory when I can set it to someone’s name and call them with one button? It seems crazy to use ones memory for these little things when we must treasure it for important facts like how big Mariah Carey’s engagement ring is.

The Yellow Pages.

To think, this company used to charge businesses thousands and thousands of dollars per year to print a book that sat under the phone telling you where to buy something near you and the bigger your ad, the more likely someone was to buy from you. No trust, community or ethics necessary because no-one can post a review. Just buy a big ad and you’re free. I’m not disappointed the world has changed.

The camera

I never managed to have a camera in my pocket when I needed one 15 years ago, and I was rarely in the photos I took nor shared them with others. Now I have a selfie at every event and my constant use of Facebook makes sure my family see them too. I’m not sure they want to – but it makes for fun entertainment.

The torch

We can never find a torch in our house when we need one. Whether looking in a sore ear, or finding the power box when the lights go out, you can be confident in your mobile phone being very close to your side at all times so you’ll never be in the dark again. I vaguely remember having candles in the drawer for blackouts… I don’t think I have even wondered where they are in the house for a few years.

What else has your mobile phone replaced? Go on… have some fun and tell us your stories?