In June of 2013 I watched the Eagles play the Bombers at Patterson Stadium. At the time the Bombers were embroiled in a drugs scandal.
The game was a cracker.
At half-time the Eagles led by just 3 points. By three quarter-time they’d manage to push that margin out to 17.
With Job Watson being jeered every time he went near the ball the Bombers had a lot to do. But it was clear they were far from beaten.
It was edge-of-the-seat stuff.
As you probably know, I like to observe. And through the course of this pulsating game I’d spotted a young kid sitting not far from me.
He was playing on his iPhone.
While the rest of the crowd booed and cheered and tried to will their team over the line he was hunched over his phone seemingly oblivious to the theatre that surrounded him.
Now I’m no stranger to technology but I felt a sense of sadness mixed with outrage.
I was sad that this young bloke was missing the spectacle of a titanic struggle and I was outraged that someone had paid good money for a ticket only to have the kid ignore the whole match.
Over the months since I’ve become more acutely aware of our apparent addiction to small screens.
And it’s not just young people.
It’s people of my age and older who are addicted to iPhone notifications but won’t do anything to stop them. It’s tourists who visit the Grand Canyon and see the whole thing through the screen of their smartphone camera. And it’s people who go out to dinner with their phones next to their plate, the whole time taking sneaky peaks to see if they’ve received a text or Facebook notification.
I see this addiction as robbing from our families and communities a sense of deep connectedness.
But there is a better way.
That better way is to make using technology a choice, not a reaction.
Along with a few other goals, I’ve made a decision to spend less time with my phone this year. Sure, I’ll still use it – probably more than most – but it will be on my terms.
I’ve already setup Do Not Disturb so that the phone isn’t buzzing and blinking during the night.
And I’ve stopped taking it to the toilet with me. Seriously, I never did that. It’s weird.
So what’s your take; do we use our smartphones and tablets too much?
Footnote: If you’ve read this far you deserve to know that the Eagles lost 13.13.91 to 15.8.98. It really was a sad night.