It is a very modern (albeit very common) conundrum.
You are sitting at a cafe chatting with a girlfriend, when she glances at her phone. Seeing it flash, she picks it up and begins to type a response, all the while pitching into your story with the occasional half-hearted, ‘uh huh’, ‘mmm hmm’, and ‘no way!’
She’s not listening. What do you do?
The feeling of playing second fiddle to a smartphone is an emerging anxiety in many modern relationships; romantic, friendship, family, work or otherwise.
Watch a bride check her phone during her wedding ceremony (post continues after video).
Scolding someone to ‘get off their phone’ in the middle of a social event is a daily occurrence. We are all guilty of it, and yet we are all bothered by it, too. An unhealthy cycle has emerged, and the ripple effects of the ‘connected’ smartphone age are starting to be felt in the disconnection of our real-life human friendships, too.
The very first iPhone was released in June of 2007, and we have barely taken our eyes off the screen in the 8 years since.
Our dabbling in online socialising – MSN, anyone? – burst into a full blown obsession, with Facebook and Instagram becoming within reach at all times. The most popular iPhone app is Facebook, and with 700 million people now on an iPhone, that’s fair to say a vast number of the world’s population are trading into good old fashioned coffee dates for a quick chat online instead.
In what has been dubbed ‘the digital divide’, pychologists and sociologists are beginning to notice major behavioural trends emerging as a result of the smartphone revolution. Among shortened attention spans, poor communication skills, lack of original thought, and increased self-obsession (one word: selfies), one of the biggest casualties of smart phones has been our friendships.
The hallowed territory that existed between friends is now being slowly chiselled away by the incessant siren’s song of new connections online. The very framework of friendship – deep and meaningful conversations, ritual Thursday night dinners, and Saturday night secrets – are now interrupted, if not completely replaced, by quick hits of online love in the form of likes or comments.