Our friend …
Earlier today I couldn’t help but find myself looking at my mobile (cellular) phone when waiting on my lunch to heat up. It got me thinking about something completely different, so much so, the content I have been learning in preperation for my exams this week, almost, just almost went to the back burner: are our mobile phones our friends, our companions, or are they our enemy?
In technology terms, mobile friendly means that technology devices communicate effectively with our portable mobiles, so we can have (i) a longer battery life, (ii) a better view of a web site – such as a mobile version, for (iii) quicker access for 3G speed (the speed most mobile’s pick up today). But in everyday language, mobile friendly takes on a new role, a new meaning: it enables us to connect with people, the world and stop ourselves from feeling too alone.
Rather than a friend, some people use their mobile’s to help them with their everyday situations. For example, using it to send a text message into a TV show’s competition. A mobile can easily become a part of a person. For some, it’s almost glued to their hands. For others, it enables people within (the Information) society to switch off, or at least play down what is actually going on in their real lives. This could be looking at a video, sending a message on Facebook, or using one of the latest apps, such as, DrawSomething. In a way, a mobile does allow us to switch off the reality lights in or lives, or at least make them dull for a few minutes. But where is the balance?
Our mobile’s are generally always with us, in our pocket, in our bag, in our laptop case …. But does this mean we always have a distraction around us? Does this mean that we can easily not tackle the real things in our lives, as easy as they once were? Let me explain:
Several decades ago, whenever mobiles were unheard of, I think it would be safe to say that jobs would have got done as and when they needed to be done, there were fewer distractions. If there were, it would have been a delay in obtaining the food, lighting the fire etc. Today, with a mobile, dinner at 5pm could be on the table for 6pm, if not later!
I’ll start dinner after I text …
Like most things in life, there needs to be a balance on the user – the actual person using the technology, rather than the technology itself. So if we have this balance, what are the benefits of mobile phones?
- mobile reminders
- mobile calendar
- available for family and friends, even emergencies
- chance to express ourselves (albeit slight), so things like background images, a customised ringtone, or even our own apps!
- increased online connectivity – current affairs, checking email etc.
- quick communication – text message to a family member/friend
- maps if you’re stuck somewhere
- Quick responce (QR) scans – these are the little black and white boxes you see on posters, or other marketing materials, usually taking you to a website related to that content
- Online shopping
There’s definately more than I could list, but whatever you use your mobile for, remember to have the balance of life. The balance of social situations. Why not call one of the people in your contacts and arrange to go for a coffee? Life really is short, and it does take someone to get the ball rolling.
Don’t become too engrossed with your mobile, it is full of great things, but it also cannot do (and shouldn’t do) some good old fashioned things (like meeting your friends and family). Meeting people physically is much, much better than virtual (Skype, Facebook) means.
Mobile and exams
In relation to distraction and revision, try to switch off your mobile. If you can’t do this, silent (no vibration) is close enough. Check it whenever you are having a revision break – it could be your mini reward for all that studying you’re doing! Last but not least, use it after you have completed an exam – communicate. Especially if you’ve been studying for a few days in a row, often a mobile allows us to easily communicate with our friends and family. So don’t forget to have fun, especially if you haven’t had a real break in a while.