Dear Ms. Smartphone: Do you think it’s a good idea to get a second phone, like a retro model that just does text and calls? I just heard about this and it intrigued me as a way to cut back my time online. TC, Tiburon
Dear TC: There was an extended story in the Wall St. Journal on minimalist phones. The idea is that you can be less distracted and more focused with a smaller gadget. Some time ago, I suggested provisional phones for pre-teens, a similar idea. Some of the new stripped down phones cost more than $300. – nothing basic there! However, you could opt for an old-fashioned clamshell model that costs under $50. Before you do this, take an inventory of the apps you ‘Must Have.’ For me, that’s GPS, plus Uber and Lyft. I could download music to a different device, and carry a pocket flashlight, but I leave modern society without GPS and Rideshare.
Dear Ms. Smartphone: There were no print programs or agendas at a two-day conference I attended in San Francisco. It was paperless. The daily program was listed on a phone app along with the room locations and speakers’ names. People were constantly checking their phones to decide where to go next. Since the conference was on technology and mindfulness, I found this jarring. What do you think? Katie B., San Francisco
Dear Katie B.: I think I was there, alongside you. The vehicle or format that is used to deliver information is part of the communications. Perhaps there were lots of last minute changes, and the organizers could not commit to print in time. Maybe they didn’t want to sell ads to offset printing costs. Perhaps the app tracked the most popular sessions. Continue reading “Rock, Paperless, Phone”
Dear Ms. Smartphone: I am a stay-at-home Mom and drive a carpool for my son and two girls, grades 8 and 9. They all take out their phones as soon as they get in my car. I try to ask them questions about school or find songs on the radio they might like. That doesn’t work. Their lack of talk makes makes me feel very sad and I am coming to dislike doing the carpool. Leslie, Strawberry
Dear Leslie: The situation you describe is probably felt by Moms and Dads everywhere…even if they wish for carpool karaoke! ‘Digital etiquette’ may not be something you can teach other people’s children, but start where you can. Have your son sit up front and ask him to put away his phone. If you know the other parents gently probe their own feelings about this. It’s a no-win situation: teens could be checking their assignments, looking at social media, or even texting each other about the Mom driving the car!