Dear Fellow ALPHA,
On June 29th of this year the world will celebrate the 12-year anniversary of the iPhone. That’s right, it’s been over a decade since the world was introduced to the first smartphone.
I still remember shaking my head at the long line outside the AT&T store in Bellevue Square Mall. At that time, AT&T had an exclusive contract to sell the iPhone. If you wanted one, you had to go to one of their stores and get it. The lines were intense.
I had seen lines like those before. It was usually when people were hoping to grab a seat at football playoff game or a U2 concert, but for a phone? Unbeknownst to me, as well as most of the world, our lives changed forever without us even batting an eye.
To say the iPhone has been a global success is like going to see the Sistine Chapel and saying, “meh, it looks nice”. It’s a complete understatement.
The iPhone is a legendary, life changing, generation defining product. It's the Model T of our generation. It gave rise to the smartphone market, the tablet market and even helped change the banking, music and automotive industry. Cars now come with touchscreens, apps and smartphone connections.
The way we communicate, shop, bank and get around town have all been influenced by the iPhone and the gargantuan ripple effect it created within the tech industry. In fact, most of our business is directly affected by a smartphone. We can connect with customers easier, faster and with more precision thanks to smartphone technology.
Personally my smartphone allows me to cover all of my bases as well. I can send an email on the run, be reminded of an important meeting and yes, even take that all-important selfie for Instagram. All thanks to my smartphone.
However, there is a growing dark side to our smartphone obsession. These handy dandy little gadgets have quietly invaded all aspects of our life and research is starting to prove this silent invasion is having detrimental effects upon our relationship and quality of life in the form a technology overload.
Our mind can only focus on one thing at a time, I know it might seem otherwise but it’s actually impossible to multi-task. Switch between two different tasks quickly, sure, but focus on two things at the same time, not possible. If you want more information on the impossibility of multitasking I highly recommend you read Dr. John Medina’s book, Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School.
Our inability to multitask is why distracted driving is so dangerous and killed around 3,500 people in 2016. Plain and simple, distractions kill. And, the biggest distraction in our life today is smartphones.
There has been a silent technological invasion into our lives and it’s insidiously sucking the life from our relationships. We have allowed smartphones to silently distract us away from the people we hold dear.
In fact, this is such a serious issue that there is a term for smartphone interference, its called technoference. Technoference is when technology interferes or causes interference with someone’s ability to have quality interactions with others.
A study conducted by Brandon McDaniel of Pennsylvania State University and Sarah Coyne of Brigman Young University; found that technoference causes lowered relationship quality and an even higher risk of depression among men and women.
Dr. McDaniel states, “this is likely a circular process that people become trapped in where allowing technology to interfere, even in small ways, in one's relationship at least sometimes causes conflict, which can begin to slowly erode the quality of their relationship.”
When we allow smartphones to interfere with our time with loved ones, even if only for brief moments, it causes the other person to feel devalued in the relationship. In Coyne and McDaniel’s study, they found 75% of women stated smartphones are affecting their relationships.
I frequently see couples in the car together and most of the time I see the passenger glued to their phone. In restaurants, I see people checking their phones instead of engaging with the person seated two feet in front of them. Walking around the lake I see parents on their phone as they push their child in the stroller, sadly these parents are missing out on some of the most precious time in their child’s life not to mention a plethora of teaching opportunities.
Smart devices will only become more prevalent in the years to come, soon there will be smart-cars, smart-appliances, smart-TV’s and even smart-homes built from the ground up. It’s critical for our relationships that we find balance with these amazing devices. We need to relearn how to give our undivided attention to our loved ones.
Try this, turn off your phone when you are with your significant other, your kids and even while you are driving. Literally…power it down! Then, watch how your interactions change. You will be forced to interact with those around you.
If you have been having a technological third party interfering with your relationship, it might feel strange not having the technoference. Don’t worry, it will quickly feel normal once again.
Give it time.
In closing I will leave you with a quote by Mahatma Gandhi, “actions express priorities.” When you power down your phone you are taking a clear action and expressing to those around you that they are your number one priority. I guarantee that the health of your relationships will benefit from becoming a top priority once again
Until Next Time,
Attack Your Life With Passion!
Brandon DiNovi, CEO RAM Advantage