Put Down That Device And Live Life

Digital devices prevent us from enjoying life. It’s also time to learn the proper technology courtesy. 

You’re sitting at a restaurant and your date gets up to use the restroom, what’s the first thing you do?

More than likely, you check your phone.

Whether you glance at your text messages or the latest social media update, those five minutes sitting alone can seem so unbearable that we immediately go to our phone when we’re uncomfortable. It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction to grab our phones when there’s any sort of silence.

It’s also ironic that something designed to connect us with one another has inadvertently made us socially awkward and unaware of what’s going on around us. We pay more attention to a piece of hardware than we do living and breathing human beings.

“Technology has ruined society’s communication skills. I have clients who can’t describe to me what they want,” Commercial Editor John Hopper said. “Instead, they insist on showing me by taking out their phone and pointing to a series of Google images. The internet has even damaged people’s creativity.”

A study was published by Fast Company where neuroscientists observed a group of CEOs and entrepreneurs who were cut off from technology while in the Moroccan desert. The findings were incredible.

The study showed the content of conversations changed when people were without technology. In a connected world, when a general trivia question comes up, people immediately Google the answer, ending that particular line of questioning.

However, without Google, people keep talking as they look for an answer, which often results in creative storytelling or hilarious guessing games that lead to new inside jokes.”

Powering down electronic devices in the classroom can also be beneficial. Judith Richards, a business and marketing professor in the School of Management, enforces a “tech etiquette” policy in her classroom and said students are receiving even higher marks than before.

“[In the classroom] I have a policy on technology etiquette. I thought I would have a great deal of resistance, but I have not. The students do adjust,” Richards said. “For the most part, I have seen a remarkable difference. Prior to the application of this policy, students who were clearly not paying attention, they end up asking questions that I already covered in class. Overall students have had higher grades. They’re more focused. Students are interacting and are more engaged in the class.”

Technological courtesy and etiquette shouldn’t be limited to the classroom either. Last April, I was afforded an opportunity to apply this policy, and it completely changed my perspective on how to view life.

I was one of the lucky few who scored tickets to the first show of Guns N’ Roses’ reunion tour. Once I arrived at the venue, I made a promise to myself. I promised that I would live every minute and soak in each moment of the night by turning off my electronic devices.

Even if that meant not capturing a single photo or video of the show, I didn’t care. I had one of the greatest times of my life that night. I wasn’t preoccupied with my digital world or the virtual reality I created for myself. I was living in the real world with my very real friends.

Ever since that night, I realize an entire event can be missed by looking through a screen or burying myself in my phone. As simple as living in the moment may seem, it is something we all take for granted.

Tate Rutland
Staff Writer