The red light flashing is intoxicating. Isn’t it?
Some of us are constantly looking for it…praying that it will turn from green to red.
Some of us sit in conversations with other people periodically looking away from their gaze to see if its flashing red.
When we see that its red, we pounce.
No, its not police cars coming after you.
Are you addicted to the red flashing light on your smartphone device?
Many of us are. We are excited to get messages from others…even if they are work-related.
Its like a crack-addict getting their fix; never being satisfied and always wanting more.
Don’t you just hate being dumped for that red flashing light? How many times have you been sitting with someone having a friendly conversation or a business meeting when all of a sudden they become distracted or stop mid-sentence to grab their device and read the email or message that just came through?
Damn that pisses me off. When that happens to me it sends me a very clear message. It says, “I am less important then that message sent from someone else”.
Adults aren’t the only one’s guilty of being addicted to the flashing red light. My soon-to-be 15 year daughter is also addicted. She lives for the flashing red light because it means that someone she knows is attempting to chat with her. When it goes from green to red she pounces on it like a tiger attacking its prey.
My daughter tells me its impolite to not respond to a message right away…even if it means blowing off the person she might be sitting in front of (including her own parents) in the process. I have tried to repeatedly tell her to not respond so quickly because that too can send a wrong message. It also can be potentially dangerous because she doesn’t allow for the message to sink in, giving her time to think about how she will respond. Sometimes its better to let the person stew for a bit instead of hastily responding.
Don’t get me wrong…we all love to get mail (other than bills and notices from Revenue Canada). When I went to summer camp, I always looked forward to getting mail from home…especially in those rare moments when I was feeling a little homesick. But, I didn’t sit around waiting for mail to come. When it arrived and was waiting on my bunk bed, I sat down and read the letter. I didn’t wait for the mail truck to make its delivery and stand over the shoulder of the person sorting the mail, peering at each letter looking for my name to appear on an envelope (or better yet, a parcel!)
That is what many flashing red-light addicts do. Is that message coming to them THAT important that it puts the person they are with in a secondary position? Would they want to be treated the same way? Is there need to read the message so important to the future of the world as we know it?
I think you know the answers to these questions.
Many people have started playing smartphone games when they go out socially. I have heard of one game where each person takes their device and stacks it in the middle of the table to be left untouched until the end of the evening. The first person who feels the need to reach for their phone has to pay for the meal. GREAT IDEA!! Hit them in their pocketbook…always a great deterrent.
Maybe some rules need to be established before a face-to-face meeting or get-together takes place. If one of the people is awaiting a very important email or communication that requires them to respond immediately, maybe they should say so to the other people involved. Or better, maybe it should be decided to just turn off all devices, put them away..out of sight, so no flashing light, vibration or ringtone is heard.
I might give a few people the benefit of the doubt. For example, a doctor waiting on a patient who is going into labour. A world-leader waiting on news about something that will have catastrophic effects unless they respond right away. A parent eagerly awaiting news about the safe arrival of a child in a far-off destination.
Beyond that…get over yourself and look away from the red light!