Create Mobile switch-off hours

March 25, 2012

A few days back I saw a family of four having dinner at a restaurant. Each of them was on their mobile. The father perhaps spoke to some business client, mother to a friend, daughter constantly wrote SMSs and the son played games.  I wonder why they were there together if each of them had to communicate with someone else.

I can recall another incident. Someone met me as he wanted advice on his career.  We could not talk as his mobile phone rang consistently and interrupted our communication. It is not surprising that we did not find any worthwhile solution. And, it tested my patience to its limits.

I successfully resisted having a mobile phone for long till I was handed over one by the office one day. I keep it but use it rarely. I even forget to take it with me at times. And, it does not affect me adversely in any way.

Smart phones have more to offer and more to keep their owner engaged. Over 200 million people access Facebook through their mobile phone.  Facebook claims to have 845 million users at the end of 2011 globally. Nearly 48% of 18-34 year olds check Facebook when they wake up, with 28% doing so before even getting out of bed. I am all of the benefits of this communication tool but its excessive usage worries me.

We need to be disciplined while using our mobile phones. I like what some one once told me. He said he uses his phone like a television. He switches it on when he wants and switches it off when he is done with it. This is a great advice.

Being preoccupied is one of the reasons for poor listening and mobile phone seems to be doing just that.  The concept of ‘noise’ as a barrier in effective communication emerged through telephonic communication. No one, however, would imagine that the source of this great discovery would one day become a barrier itself.

It will be useful to develop the habit of switching off our mobile phones from time to time. If switching off is not an option for some, they must find another ways to give themselves some time off it. It will help us focus better and make you a good listener. Finally, please do remember to switch off your phone when you are with family and friends. Listen to each other and talk to them.