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Now that I have your divided attention

Now that I have your divided attention

We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.

– 1928 Book of Common Prayer

Are smart phones eating away at our relationships? Or is “quiet time with devices” OK?

Alaina Kleinbeck writing in Faith and Leadership:

… The visual presence of our phone on the table nonverbally communicates to both parties that our attention and ability to connect is divided.

I was at a community meeting recently when the meeting’s facilitator asked everyone to turn their phones to silent and put them out of sight. She quipped something along these lines: “If your phone’s vibrate mode registers on the Richter Scale, it’s no better than letting us hear your ringtone song.” She made caveats for parents with small children or others who had caregiving responsibilities, but the rest of us were held to her strict guidelines.

I made use of my phone’s “do not disturb” function that silences all but a few incoming callers. During that meeting, everyone at the table was engaged, even the quiet ones who didn’t speak. Presumably, they were engaged because the conversation was interesting, but the lack of distractions focused the engagement and aided the conversation.

Yet not every area of our life has as clear boundaries for technology use as a facilitated community meeting. …

Emphasis added.

Read it all here. If you are reading this in the presence of another party are you willing to put your device away?

Have you had an experience where the group norm went from devices on and visible was OK to devices off and out of sight was expected? With what effect?


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