By: A.C.

A report out today “found people in Scotland spent more time on media and communications than other UK nations”.

It goes into statistics and percentages of what devices are used, how folk access news, social media and what they use these different devices for.

I have only recently purchased a Smartphone which is ‘old hat’ already. I was finally persuaded that my 12 year old Nokia brick was ‘outdated’. I used it for actually talking to someone, or occasionally texting.

Most of the time it was switched off, and just using it when I needed it, seemed to work well for me. I see a mobile as an aid to call the emergency services, and a useful tool for police or doctors to call family, should that be necessary. I live in an unconnected world. By that I mean I do not ‘do’ social media.

There is a very old Buddhist teaching that some monks cannot live without constant connection to the world. They need constant companionship and folk around them in order to function. Others simply want no part of it, and would lock themselves away in a hermitage.

In a sense the cyber world for the hyper–connected is indeed like some kind of “community” to live in. Social media is a very big global Village Street.

The others, who eschew this constantly connected world, have to learn to live with it and move with change and progress. So the answer seems to lie in moderation of use and not allowing the overuse to become an addiction.

How many of us regard someone staring at a Tablet or Smartphone, as bad manners when we are trying to communicate with them? How many families do not communicate except through their electronic devices? I have seen families in cafes busily using their devices, but not talking to each other, or failing to take notice of each other or their environment. Like young Mums who grapple with baby buggies and a load of shopping, and who still try to use a Smartphone for some reason.

Personally, when I am on a bus I really don’t like the one–sided conversation which details the ins and outs of why someone was lifted in a drunken stramash in Aberdeen and is now facing prison. Or indeed as one day recently when a young woman engaged in an unabashed and loud conversation, revealing the terms of child support and the family history and parentage of several children.

Some folk clearly enjoy “earwigging”, but I have found that mobiles have stripped some people of the need to be discreet and private in their communications. I suppose if it is all on Facebook anyway, why bother being discreet?

I wonder if there are accidents where texting drivers have struck a pedestrian who is similarly engaged. Then again when the pavement is reached, how many pedestrians cause problems for the disabled by not paying attention as they stare at their Smartphone screen and try to walk at the same time? Not all of us have the twinkle–toed abilities or physique of a Sevens Rugby Player to avoid or brush–off collisions.

There is no ‘privacy’ in using any of these devices or social media either. We have no idea what deals have been done between nations spying organisations and manufacturers of software and hardware in order to monitor our communications. Or even if unfriendly countries whose devices we buy have spyware already built–in.

So I suppose it is best to switch off, and use your device only when absolutely necessary. Find other more old–fashioned ways to do your business. Corporations want everyone to do business on a mobile, because it saves them money. Like scan as you shop, – those devices at the supermarket, that tabulate everything beforehand and payment is made on leaving.

If I used these services, which I don’t, I would want a discount on my purchases, because the supermarket saves a lot of money by not employing check–out assistants. It won’t be long until those shelves are stacked by nightshift robots and the jobs available will be solely to programme and fix the robots or devices.

In saying all that, I am now switching off my computer, powering –down my phone and going out for a little exercise.

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