We all look at our phones throughout the day….but the goal of DearSmartphone is to look at our phones differently, with fresh eyes.

How do phones change our daily habits and how we go about our daily routines? Does content from Instagram, Facebook and other social media change what we think about and how we remember things? And, most importantly, how does a smartphone extend into our personal relationships and social situations?

DearSmartphone began as a simple blog with a big concern: to make drivers more aware about the risks of driving while using the phone. It has evolved into a larger social site that explores the pervasive role of smartphones.

The metaphor of being distracted by phones is useful not only in cars, but throughout everyday life. When phones were stationary and tethered to the wall, we were limited to one or two things…. to listen and to talk. Perhaps we doodled or caught a glance at the TV. Mobility changes the equation in many ways. Phones travel with us and that bring personal security and connectedness, but often at the price of being more cognitively challenged. Even when we are not in the car, our attention must jump between automatic, subconscious functions and the social or personal items we want to engage in.

DearSmartphone is an open conversation about these issues. And, the site challenges us to see our phones differently.

“Time well spent” is how users describe the DearSmartphone advice column….. join in with your topical issues and add your questions and comments. This is a user driven site!

www.dearsmartphone.com

No experience necessary…just a curious mind. And, here’s another path to join too.

@dearsmartphone (Instagram)

Smartphones are expressive…particularly when it comes to displaying images and graphics. Instagram needs phones and phones need emojis, graphics, and visual shortcuts. Sometimes images are more powerful than words alone, and can help us to quickly express and grasp the role of smartphones in our daily lives. So, join DearSmartphone on Instagram too.

@dearsmartphone.com. Make sure to check the Instagram site for added dialogue and commentary.

Dear Smartphone- More than Pretty Pictures

Emojis and cute pictures have their limits. Here are more in-depth items from DearSmartphone on mobility, telecom, and teens. You can find more articles and features on her monthly blog. For parents seeking advice, there are additional resources and links at dearsmartphone.com

Fast Speed, Slow Needs: Social Information

This is a recent piece comparing speed on the road with speed of information. On the road we have social controls that help to make us safer and reduce accidents. When we spread social information, should we have speed warnings?

Parental Controls for Tween Phones

It is a rite of passage. Today’s tween is likely to have a smartphone by age ten or earlier. Until recently, there was a different rite of passage: reaching the age to get a learner’s permit for driving. What are the similarities and differences between the new mobility for teens and the old mobility in vehicles?

Provisional Phones Meet Digital Literacy

Parents worry when kids get their first smartphone. There are valid concerns about the hours kids will spend on the phone, as well as the accidental, or deliberate, exposure to cyber-bullying, cyber-porn, and more.  In this piece, I draw parallels between the provisional driver’s licenses we issue for new drivers and the need to provide young people with lessons on digital education and mindfulness. https://grayhomesgreencars.com/provisional-phones-provisional-drivers/

Learning from a Fall: “Lady in the Fountain” (the video)

It’s a challenge to convince smartphone users that their devices divide their attention and compromise cognitive faculties. “We know what we see” is a typical response. We are not aware of how our consciousness can be hijacked or dimmed. This video has great heuristic value. It is humorous and holds our attention. YouTube cites more than 600,000 views since 2011. The actual Lady in the Fountain (not to be named here) has threatened law suits. But, eight years later, the video continues to be posted. It challenges us to think about the time-less public shaming and humiliation that occurs through social media. The video remains in the public domain so I post the link but with conflicted feelings for continuing the chain. Hopefully it will awaken some people to the dangers of multi-tasking on smartphones.

Remember, it’s a two-way street…smartphones bring ‘People on Phones’ and ‘Phones on People’. Take time to be present and search in all directions.