February 18, 2009

Caught Red Handed

In December, when I was supposed to be Christmas shopping for my husband, I got distracted in the Apple Store and came out with an iPhone. The rest, as they say, is history.

After years of herding toddlers with my head in the sand(box), this device has singlehandedly propelled me into modern times. I watch webcasts, read the latest headlines, check messages, download apps, tweet, twerp, you name it! But now, now I need to learn how to put it down.

The term I've heard bantered around is Constant Partial Attention. Apparently, all of this instantaneous communication can impede our ability to focus. We become so programmed to continuously check for information, that we tend to interrupt ourselves. In some cases, it impacts our manners, common sense, and common courtesies.

I don't want to rain on the iPhone (or even the Obama Blackberry) parade. I just want to point out that it takes focus to solve a problem. And problems, well, they seem to be getting worse. Like 'airplane' mode, maybe we could suggest some new modes for the next version: solving-a-physics-problem mode, talking-to-my-wife mode (very important), driving-in-my-car mode, etc. Yes, of course I know we can always turn it off, but hey, this is more creative!


Tiffany T said...

It is interesting that you mention this, L.

My belief is that our children will become multi-tasking gods rather than having to focus on one problem at a time. I'm hopeful that our children or our children's children will be able to talk on the phone, download information, and listen to something calming all simultaneously. I can't imagine what the future would look like if people behaved this way. How would you school them to keep their attention?

Anonymous said...

I still haven't got myself the iphone yet. I'm afraid that I would be a bit obsessive about it, but hey it's just so darn useful.
Now I have to say, that it is nice to disconnect every once in a while. I have to do it a couple of days a week, for sanity's sake.