Sherry Turkle, for the New York Times, discussing how conversation has changed due to the advent of mobile phones et alia.
We have to commit ourselves to designing our products and our lives to take that vulnerability into account. We can choose not to carry our phones all the time. We can park our phones in a room and go to them every hour or two while we work on other things or talk to other people. We can carve out spaces at home or work that are device-free, sacred spaces for the paired virtues of conversation and solitude. Families can find these spaces in the day to day — no devices at dinner, in the kitchen and in the car. Introduce this idea to children when they are young so it doesn’t spring up as punitive but as a baseline of family culture. In the workplace, too, the notion of sacred spaces makes sense: Conversation among employees increases productivity.
My wife and I have had a rule, even before we had kids, of no phones at the dinner table for this very reason. There are times we allow exceptions (generally, because we’re trying to make or confirm plans with friends/family), and it’s clear to me that it changes the tenor of the conversation.
Disconnecting more wholesale is hard, though. Even as I tell myself to disconnect more, I keep getting plugged in.
However, I do very much value time disconnected, time of solitude and contemplation. I can only hope I encourage the same in my children.