Sherry Turkle

“We expect more from technology and less from each other.”

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How to Handle Other People's Bad Phone Habits

psychologytoday.com

Paul Graham, the famed Silicon Valley investor, has observed that societies tend to develop “social antibodies” — defenses against new harmful behaviors. So maybe the remedy to screen indiscretion may be developing new norms that make it socially undesirable to check one’s phone in the company of others.

The trouble is that if we don’t build social antibodies, the disease of distraction will become the new normalas. Graham points out, is that “unless the rate at which social antibodies evolve can increase to match the accelerating rate at which technological progress throws off new addictions, we’ll be increasingly unable to rely on customs to protect us.”

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How to Handle Other People's Bad Phone Habits
  • At work: Take an explicit approach and declare discussions device-free. 
  • Among friends: To effectively call someone out while keeping things cordial, ask a question: “Oh, sorry, were you on your phone? Is everything O.K.?” If there really is an emergency, the person can excuse himself, but more often than not, he’ll tuck it back into his pocket and start enjoying the night.

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