Don’t Blame Cellphones for Society’s Ills

We’ve had a revelation.

Behold… cellphones aren’t dangerous.

They’re not bad for your health. And they have no effect on your mind.

How’s that for a change of heart?

No… we weren’t paid off by the fine folks at Verizon. And, no, the Apple goons didn’t come knocking. (At least, not yet.)

In fact, we’re far from serious.

We’re still convinced cellphones are to humans what asteroids were to dinosaurs.

Trouble.

But we are convinced our phones don’t deserve all the blame for the rotting human psyche.

They’re just another “innocent” victim of what ails us.

Winning Ways

Take an interesting turn of events from the basketball team at Texas Tech. From what we hear, they had a good year.

But it didn’t start that way.

In fact, it was during a three-game losing streak to vital opponents in February that a player on the team had a good idea.

Let’s get rid of all our cellphones before bed, he said.

“No distractions.”

So each player tossed his phone in a bag and went to bed. The team won handily the next day.

And thus a rule was born. No phones before bed. The team would hit the hay focused not on what was scrolling across the flashing blue screen in their hands… but on the challenge of the day ahead.

There would be no phones at team dinners… no phones in meetings… no phones anywhere players and coaches needed to concentrate.

The idea worked.

Texas Tech made it all the way to the final seconds of overtime in the final game of the NCAA’s famed championship.

The coach said it was his team’s lack of distraction that propelled them to where few folks thought they could go.

But again… don’t blame the phone.

Halftime = Phone Break

It’s easy to say the phone is the culprit… It’s a magical little box that warps our mind.

But to get the full spectrum of what’s gone wrong, we must hold the prism to our eye and view the color of the light that’s coming from another direction.

It, too, has to do with basketball players.

But these players are paid millions of dollars and are considered some of the most dedicated and most honed on the planet.

That may be true, but they’re engaging in a new and harmful habit.

They’re checking their phones at halftime.

Imagine the scene. The score on the court is tied. The opponents have been shifty and fierce. And yet when the buzzer blares halfway through the game… the first thing the team does is check their phones.

Ahhh… there’s something to that idea.

What are they looking for?

That’s the rub of the whole thing. It proves it’s not the phone’s fault.

They’re dialing in to whatever vice has them by the neck.

Some players may look at stats from other games… if their work is their obsession.

Others may look to see what the press is saying about their performance… if ego is their thing.

They may check stocks… if greed is their sin.

And still others may be scrolling through Instagram… if social comparison is what makes their endorphins fire.

The phone isn’t making them do these things. It’s only enabling it.

And that’s the thing.

We lowly humans have had these same vices and distractions since Eve took a bite of that oh-so-tempting apple (a divine bit of foreshadowing given the brand of choice in phones these days).

We come home from work and continue to think about the numbers we worked on.

We go to a party and compare ourselves to the neighbors.

We do a bit of peacocking because we’re not sure what others think of us.

None of this is new. The problems are as old as the sea.

It’s just that our phones put all of it at our fingertips. And they’re designed to tap into our weak, emotional minds and keep us yearning for more.

Fortunately, the team in Texas taught the nation a lesson.

We need to do what we can to limit the effects of our natural-born vices.

These distractions don’t go away when we put the phone down.

But it sure helps.

 

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