We love our phones. Do our phones love us?

you love your phone, your phone loves you

Since we’re always using our phones, our reading list this week is all about our phones. Why do we love them? Do they help our social lives or hurt us? How do they affect our children? How do they affect our minds?

If you feel like your phone has taken away your sense of place or you just really enjoy Walker Percy, we’d like to invite you to check out the “Walker Percy Weekend: A Literary Festival.”  The weekend promises “good food, craft beer and bourbon, live music, and a great time talking about books and Southern culture under the live oaks.” What could be better?

Tickets are available now and selling fast for the June 6-8th weekend. Get yours here.

Why you love your phone – The Economist

“The very close relationship that we have with our phone, in the sense that it’s with us at all times, means that we can feel more strongly about a communication coming through on it. … Our close affinity to the device is creating a human social robot. It’s so integral to what we’re doing that the everyday aspects of how we live our life involve a huge amount of communication with groups and people internationally and we are no longer constrained by where we are. We take this completely for granted.”

My Students Don’t Know How to Have a Conversation – The Atlantic

“My junior English class had spent time researching different education issues. We had held whole-class discussions surrounding school reform issues and also practiced one-on-one discussions. Next, they would create podcasts in small groups, demonstrating their ability to communicate about the topics—the project represented a culminating assessment of their ability to speak about the issues in real time.

“Even with plenty of practice, the task proved daunting to students. I watched trial runs of their podcasts frequently fall silent. Unless the student facilitator asked a question, most kids were unable to converse effectively. Instead of chiming in or following up on comments, they conducted rigid interviews. They shuffled papers and looked down at their hands. Some even reached for their phones—an automatic impulse and the last thing they should be doing.”

For The Children’s Sake, Put Down That Smartphone – NPR

“And, perhaps not surprisingly, when Radesky looked at the patterns in what she and the other researchers observed, she found that kids with parents who were most absorbed in their devices were more likely to act out, in an effort to get their parents’ attention. She recalls one group of three boys and their father: The father was on his cellphone, and the boys were singing a song repetitively and acting silly. When the boys got too loud, the father looked up from his phone and shouted at them to stop. But that only made the boys sing louder and act sillier.”

Feuding in 140 Characters – The New York Times

“In days of yore, if you were famous and hot under the collar, you stumbled over to your nemesis’ booth at the Musso & Frank Grill and hurled a martini or Sidecar into the object of your opprobrium’s face. By the 1960s, your arena had changed: You deployed the jeweled rapiers and poisoned darts of your animus on “The Dick Cavett Show” or in the letters section of The New York Review of Books. Today, you turn on your iPhone and tweet, ‘miley is a byotch!'”

Outsourcing Your Mind and Intelligence to Computer/Phone Apps – IEET

“I bought an iPhone. The iPhone has already taken over some of the central functions of my brain . . . The iPhone is part of my mind already . . . [Clark’s] marvellous book . . . defends the thesis that, in at least some of these cases the world is not serving as a mere instrument for the mind. Rather, the relevant parts of the world have become parts of my mind. My iPhone is not my tool, or at least it is not wholly my tool. Parts of it have become parts of me . . . When parts of the environment are coupled to the brain in the right way, they become parts of the mind.”

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About the Contributor

Benjamin Robertson

Benjamin Robertson
Benjamin Robertson is a founding editor at Second Nature. He has worked in advertising for the Chicago Tribune and Gannett, and now is a web developer at Up&Up. He studied Communications and Media Studies under Dr. Read Schuchardt at Wheaton College in Illinois. He has presented papers on Marshall McLuhan, media ecology, and Christianity at the Media Ecology Association, National Communication Association, and the McLuhan's Philosophy of Media Centennial Conference in Brussels. He lives with his wife, Ruth, in Greenville, SC. His personal website is benjamingrobertson.com

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