Social Question

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Does it seem to you , the more connected we get electronically, the more we get disconnected with reality?

Asked by SQUEEKY2 (5308 points ) May 6th, 2014

Being a trucker I see just about 8 out of 10 drivers still talking on the cell, looking on the street just about everyone has their face in their phone texting or talking, or listening to tunes on their phone via ear buds, and these people are totally clueless to what’s going on around them.
So back to my question do you believe the more connected we get electronically, the more disconnected to real life we are becoming?

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56 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Thanks , but do you think there is anything we can do to correct this?

cookieman's avatar

I think, for some, the shine will eventually wear off the apple. Mobile technology is still very new and attractive. The longer it exists, the more common and less exciting it is. In 1980, we spent weeks staring at our brand new microwave as it “cooked” things.

For some people however, where face to face connections are uncomfortable or less desirable, online mobile communication pretty much is their reality.

flutherother's avatar

Yes, but there again what is reality?

hominid's avatar

Not at all.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@hominid So your very aware of whats going on around you while the face is buried in your cell phone, somehow I just don’t believe you, I think it’s more like this…http://youtu.be/bGpVpsaItpU

hominid's avatar

@SQUEEKY2: ”@hominid So your very aware of whats going on around you while the face is buried in your cell phone”

I would never text and drive – or call and drive. Never.

But recall that your question suggests that you feel that “the more connected we get electronically, the more we get disconnected with reality”. First of all, I do not see this at all. But if you are specifically talking about driving and texting, I still think don’t see it. Most people are awful human beings who drive their cars (weapons) around while texting, placing calls, eating, drinking, talking, thinking, and worrying, while tired and not even close to 100% attention. But that has absolutely nothing to do with electronics and “being disconnected with reality”.

Most of us are walking around in a daze, unaware of almost everything – including the most basic truths about reality. But to blame the current technological inventions on this would be unfounded. Every generation has some kind of techno-panic. I’m not buying it.

It seems that you are convinced that accident rates have increased – and they have increased due to distraction by mobile device. This may be the case, but I have not seen data that suggested this. If you have the data, please present it.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

And no one ever texts and drives yeah sure just like this…
http://youtu.be/K2D3hB278Gc

hominid's avatar

Also, while I have stated that I would never fiddle with my phone, I am very connected when I enter my car. When I get in the car, I place my phone in the mount. If I want to text my wife while driving, I state, “Ok Google now, text [wife’s name] I will be home soon”. If I’m lost, I simply state, “Ok Google now, navigate home” (or wherever I’m going). No hands required. No fiddling with a phone. My full attention is on the road.

Remember, we’re in the very early stages of much of this technology. Advances will likely make what I’m describing above more of the norm for everyone.

And please, when someone answers your question, please don’t attribute to them statements they didn’t make and then claim “I don’t believe you.” I am not a luddite. Nor am I a liar.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Geeez you must be the life of any party.

hominid's avatar

@SQUEEKY2: “Geeez you must be the life of any party.”

You’re right. I am horrible at parties and avoid them whenever possible.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Here is some stats about cell and driving and there is lots more..http://www.nsc.org/Pages/NSCestimates16millioncrashescausedbydriversusingcellphonesandtexting.aspx

Pachy's avatar

Absolutely!—and it’s getting worse all the time. You see distracted people on cellphones on the road, in parking lots, in supermarkets, restaurants, everywhere.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

You want me to keep pasting the links or are you going to believe that it is a huge problem?
Like the lady walking into the fountain while texting to the bus driver having the accident while driving, and oh no we shouldn’t blame our electronic toys for our distractions, guess that just leaves us to say we are all idiots.

longgone's avatar

Nope.

People said the same things about children and women reading books, once upon a time.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

And once upon a time we didn’t have lot’s and lot’s of high speed vehicles. or the populations of today.

longgone's avatar

Are you, then, proposing to ban both electronic devices and books? I doubt you’ll find many supporters.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

That will never happen,just wish people would use some kind of common sense when using their gadgets people are getting more and more careless and could care less if they want to kill themselves but they have no right to endanger others with their stupidity.
and maybe, just maybe if this or legislation will wake a few up so innocents don’t get hurt by other lack of common sense.then it will be worth it.

longgone's avatar

“Just wish people would use some kind of common sense when using their gadgets”

See…this, we can agree on. No need to hate all electronics.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I by all means don’t hate electronics I have 3 computers, that I use all the time, and I do own a cell phone,but it is turned OFF while driving,

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I have seen a lot of stupid things on the highway due to people using their gadgets.

longgone's avatar

Good for you. I would never text and drive, either.

hearkat's avatar

I am not like most people, so my experience is not typical. I am introverted and was oppressively shy well into my 30s. In my case, interacting online helped me develop my social skills and confidence, so I am less intimidated by face-to-face interactions now.

ucme's avatar

It may be that humans evolve in the way WALL-E predicts, overweight & completely dependant on technology, totally unaware of their surroundings & lacking even the most rudimentary social skills…just a theory.

longgone's avatar

Should it worry me that, reading this thread, I tripped over the dog?

hominid's avatar

Can I summarize what I believe you are trying to say?....

People should pay attention while driving.

Does that work? The details in your question do not match the question title. You are specifically upset about people who do not give 100% attention to driving. Here we are in complete agreement. But the invention of the smartphone did not birth the inattentive driver. Using their smartphone is what inattentive drivers do today. These drivers who are texting and browsing the web while driving are the same people who were doing their makeup, eating a salad, talking on the phone, multitasking, or simply zoning out while driving before.

I’ve tried finding stats, but I have been unable to find pre and post smartphone accident rates. Are we experiencing a large jump in accident rates since the invention of the smartphone? I’d like to see the data. Even if it were the case, why the attack on the technology? Why not advocate for more advanced technology, or is that what you are doing?

hominid's avatar

I think I’ve quoted Douglas Adams before, but this seems appropriate:

“I suppose earlier generations had to sit through all this huffing and puffing with the invention of television, the phone, cinema, radio, the car, the bicycle, printing, the wheel and so on, but you would think we would learn the way these things work, which is this:

1) everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal;

2) anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it;

3) anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really.

Apply this list to movies, rock music, word processors and mobile phones to work out how old you are.”

hominid's avatar

And one more thing (since this is a rant thread) – as I’ve stated before in other threads, technology has allowed me greater freedom to be present. I have a very busy life. But when I am with my kids, I am with my kids. I needn’t concern myself with nagging thoughts like “Remember to go to my physical therapy appointment tomorrow at 10:30am” while I am talking with my kids. Why? Because I have delegated the task of remembering that to my phone. I know that it will monitor traffic and tell me exactly when I need to leave to make that appointment. There is no need to fill my head with “remember this”. I can be fully present with my kids – or while driving. This is a result of technology. I am more aware of each moment and more awake now at 42 than I was at 25 and smartphone-free.

turtlesandbox's avatar

I see a lot of parents looking at Facebook on their phone instead of paying attention to their child that is singing, dancing, playing baseball or receiving an award. It’s really sad. Their eyes would have been on their child instead Facebook if they didn’t have that phone in their hand.

Response moderated
SQUEEKY2's avatar

@turtlesandbox Exactly, they are missing out on the real world,all this technology is wonderful but the real world is just leaving them behind, like I said I have 3 computers and they are great but most everyone else has their damn head buried in their cell phone and they are missing alot.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

As for stats about texting and driving and crashes because of talking on the cell phone or texting while driving youtube and the internet is full of them and I guess I can just keep pasting them if you don’t believe me,but then again for those of you that don’t think there is a problem you probably wont believe them either.

flip86's avatar

I agree with @hominid. I don’t see it as a problem with the majority of people. I work at a grocery store and see hundreds of people throughout the day, every day. A tiny fraction of those people are stuck in their phone. Most who do this are teenagers. Sure, people make phone calls, but that is not a disconnect from reality.

hominid's avatar

@SQUEEKY2: “and I guess I can just keep pasting them if you don’t believe me if you don’t believe me”

You are making a claim, yet have failed to support that claim with data. I have given you the benefit of the doubt that it’s possible that there has been an increase in car accidents or auto-related deaths since the release of the iPhone in 2007. I just haven’t seen the data. Let me try…

- deaths per year
– it appears from here that motor vehicle deaths decreased every year from 2007 to 2011. But 2012 saw a big increase. If you are going to make your case, maybe you could start here – dig into this data and see if the 2012 increase is a trend.

But as I have outlined in my case against techno-panic above, I don’t particularly care if we do see an increase in accidents. People who do not pay attention while driving should not have a license to drive (and likely should spend the rest of their horrible days in jail). If someone gets in the car and is worried about a fight they got in with their girlfriend, or is drinking coffee or talking with a passenger, they are putting me and my family at risk and the world would be a better place without them.

I’m 42. From 1988 to 2007 most of the people I have shared the road with have been terrible, worthless people doing shitty things when they should have been spending all of their efforts trying to keep from killing me. Tomorrow, when the next technology arrives and people are distracted with that, can we be honest about it and realize that the people who would drive while distracted are the people who will drive while distracted?

@turtlesandbox: “I see a lot of parents looking at Facebook on their phone instead of paying attention to their child that is singing, dancing, playing baseball or receiving an award. It’s really sad. Their eyes would have been on their child instead Facebook if they didn’t have that phone in their hand.”

This is a pervasive idea, but I find it less than compelling. The same concept applies. Parents who are not there for their kids and choose to spend their time f*cking around with their phones are not people who would be great, attentive parents if it were not for the invention of smartphones.

And as @flip86 alludes to (“Sure, people make phone calls, but that is not a disconnect from reality.”), there is something deeper here that I find confusing. This anti-tech bent that people seem to have is based in a few assumptions that I find puzzling….

1. How is a shift in communication methods less “real” than previous communication methods?
2. Exactly what technologies are ok and allow us to remain “connected to reality”? Can we lump automobiles (& trucks), television, printing press, pens, pencils, telephone, etc into this bucket?
3. Do you really believe that a significant portion of the population has ever had any interest in “connecting to reality”? It’s safe to say that it appears that most of the U.S. population is sleepwalking, and has been well before the 2007 iPhone apocalypse.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@hominid I gave you 2 links to cell phone incidents from you tube and one from nsc.org about cell phone crashes and you didn’t bother with those so why should I waste my time with any more.

hominid's avatar

@SQUEEKY2: ” I gave you 2 links to cell phone incidents from you tube and one from nsc.org about cell phone crashes and you didn’t bother with those so why should I waste my time with any more.”

Did you? It showed pre-2007 rates and showed an increase starting at 2007? I can’t find that.

flip86's avatar

@hominid I agree with you about people. Most I see seem to be stuck in their own heads. No smart phone needed. They plod through the aisles as if they are the only people there. Concerned only with their little bubble of existence.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I am not against technology I use my cell phone , and the one feature I like is the phone book I probably have around 100 numbers on it, but my phone is totally turned off while driving, did you look at the video of the woman who walked into the water fountain while texting ,you are right people from both our countries are walking around in a daze, what I am trying to say is maybe look up once in a while and see life, not just a damn voice or text on your gadget toy.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Here is one from Quebec Canada and it clearly shows a raise in cell phone offences while driving over the past few years.
http://www.saaq.gouv.qc.ca/en/road_safety/behaviour/cell_phone/headings/statistics.php

hominid's avatar

^ Try again. This shows rise in cell phone offenses. There is nothing here about apt auto accidents per year. The links you have provided are unrelated.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

So I just have to keep posting links and have you poo pooing them?
Your not going to believe there is a problem then why has most police forces have a fine talking on the cell phone while driving?
Go head and keep your head in your phone and deny there is any problem that has worked well hasn’t it?

hominid's avatar

@SQUEEKY2: “So I just have to keep posting links and have you poo pooing them?”

If you are going to post links to data that is the opposite of what we are taking about, then why not just post photos of butterflies? Or maybe a nice sunset?

@SQUEEKY2: “Go head and keep your head in your phone and deny there is any problem that has worked well hasn’t it?”

You have either read nothing I have written or you are intentionally trolling. Wow.

cookieman's avatar

I like butterflies

Dan_Lyons's avatar

flutterbies are free to fly

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Dan_Lyons sure as long as they don’t text and fly while doing it.

jca's avatar

I think the more we are connected electronically, the more distracted we are. I don’t think texting is the same as eating in the car, as you can usually eat and watch the road but you really can’t text and watch the road.

Everyone everywhere is looking at their phones. People on the street, people at the table, people in restaurants, people at work, people out with their friends, people sitting in parks, parents with their kids. It’s almost amusing because it’s so common. When you’re expecting a text or an email, or you’re involved in a discussion on Facebook, it can be distracting, wanting to look at the phone and see if there’s been something new sent.

People on the phone while driving – it’s illegal but it’s very common. You pass someone and see them looking down at their phone. You see people holding phones to their ears, talking. Yesterday a woman was in the left lane, talking on the phone. I went to pass her on the right and at the same time, she started to go into my lane. I honked at her and she got back in the left lane. Did she get off the phone? No. So typical of drivers everywhere.

People wearing ear buds at work, on the street, in their cars, riding bikes. I would find it distracting. I don’t wear them. When I walk outside, I want to hear what’s going on around me – cars, birds, etc. When I am at work, same thing. I want to hear what’s going on.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@jca super great answer, and that is what I am trying to get at,for example last summer coming home from Vancouver island on the ferry we saw a Navy Submarine close to the ferry pretty cool but only about 6 people went out on deck to watch, going back inside there were a couple young boys busy texting, I asked them if they ever saw a real submarine and both said NO I told them there was one just off the port side of the ferry and both ran out to look,maybe if they could lift their head out of their phones they might see some real life.
And the accidents and near misses I see on the highway every year due to damn cell phones,but then when I go on about this people think I’m trolling.
BUT again excellent answer thank you.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Totally think this is true.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Dutchess_III Thank you.and glad to see you see it as well.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I mean, I see people out for a “walk” with their kids and they are paying ZERO attention to their kids because their noses are buried in the phone. I mean, what’s a walk with your kids for if not to share adventures along the way?

Sadly, it’s separated my husband and me, too. If we’re watching TV “together” he spends a good part of the time playing on his tablet. (Pisses me off, actually.)

Even myself…I have my grandson after school. I should be outside with him, digging in the dirt, but I’m not. He’s watching cartoons and I’m Fluthering. (

antimatter's avatar

O yes, if you sit in a public place or at a mall you will see that teenagers and people rather text or chat on their phones before they will chat with other people.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It frustrates the hell out of me when people come to visit and spend the entire time on their phones.

antimatter's avatar

That’s true @Dutchess_III I think as we progressed with our gadgets when lost our sense of manners.

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