We went to the park to get some fresh air, enjoy the day with the family and mostly to give me a chance to disconnect.

A familiar situation grabbed Gabrielle’s attention…
iphonico33-224x160A lady was rushing after her kid who wanted to escape. While she ran, she asked a man, who we assumed was her partner, to keep an eye on the other kid. He nodded his head without taking his eyes off his mobile phone. Another man was pushing his daughter on the swing with one hand and with the other; it looked like he was giving a tactile massage to his phone with his thumb.

After observing these adults hypnotized by their phones, Gabrielle asked me if I had the same disease. Silence was my answer.

She looked at me and after few seconds asked if I would be able to keep my iPhone in the drawer during the entire coming weekend.

Oops… I never thought a simple walk in a park would create a diplomatic situation. This was not going the way I wanted. I had to think…

***

These gadgets have really gotten under our skin. The success of a technology depends on its capacity to integrate into our daily behaviors in a natural way. Smartphones and Tablets have truly succeeded at this.

Many people can’t stay away from their smartphones for more than 5 minutes without starting to feel a huge rush of anxiety. Being iPhonic or Smartphonic means to loose totally or partially access to our Apps forcing us to be fully present into the real world. The only time we might accept it is when it is out of our control. For example, when we find ourselves:

Running out of battery. Even if we beg on the corner of the street, nobody seems to have the magic cable that could provide us with this important juice.

Being out of Wi-Fi zone. We raise our smartphone as high as possible and zigzagging through the air hoping the Wi-Fi spirit will manifest itself. Even if we desperately stare at the little symbol on the screen, the e-specter shows no magic bars. We fight our temptation to fall into the dark force of roaming, a sin that can blow our bill.

Obligated to turn it off. We hide from the flight attendant’s look during take off to stretch as much as possible our “connected” status. At landing, the moment the plane’s wheels touch the ground and we feel safe, we hide again to turn it on. We get caught again because we forgot to set it on vibrate mode.

The only place most of us are still uncomfortable to bring our smartphone is in the shower. Not because we can’t do it. The company Concord Keystone designed the Marine Case to enjoy our phone underwater.

We convince ourselves that our smartphones are an indispensable tool for vacations. We swear allegiance to the APPs that allow us to:

–  Go from point A to B without getting lost,

–   Discover a recommended restaurant,

–  Twit our adventures,

–  Share pictures and videos via the instant on social medias,

And most importantly…

– Plug our kids to the screen to watch a cartoon so we can enjoy our dinner.

Yes, it is true; we can fall into the trap of:

–  Sending a quick email to a client,

–  Chat on WhatsApp with teammates,

–  Gossip on Facebook,

–  Play crazy games.

We are all ok with these as we have the great skill to multitask our life experience. Living it and sharing it at the same time.

We can be at peace with our conscious as we see these as unthreatening activities. Simple and quick tasks that steal a little time here and there. That is a trap.

What happened with our spontaneity to discover on our own?

–  The fun getting lost in a village that did not appear on Google Maps and feel like true adventurers.

–  The excitement of stepping into an unknown restaurant with no clue about what is on the menu.

–  Give our full attention to our kids and get crazier in their nonsense stories at the dinner table.

–  Accepting that our eyes are the best camera and our memory their photo album.

Our smartphones’ precious tools can be transformed into e-distractions when we make them interfere with our sincere and needed time to disconnect.

iphonico13-224x254As we learned as kids to be separated from our parents, we need to learn now as adults to be separated from our smartphones.
By doing so, we will gain the capacity to be fully present to these simple, short and magical moments that appear only once and fill our memories with joy.

It is healthy to be iPhonic. Give ourselves a break from the virtual world to fully connect with the real world is healthy.

***

Gabrielle waited for my answer to her question. Can I be iPhonic? The challenge has been set for next weekend.