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We live in a technological age. And with that technology comes a whole raft of issues. Privacy issues tend to be at the fore currently, something that will probably remain so for some time in the current environment. Obviously some are more important than others. All of us want to make sure that our personal data is kept securely. One of the more novel privacy issues in today’s news has been that of the listening TVs. The ones that respond to voice command which, it has now been revealed, has probably been listening in to all your intimate chats on the sofa (or if you’re at the other end of the spectrum, the heated rows you have over where the remote control has gone to, forgetting you can turn it on with your voice, until it suddenly does so at one of the random words in the argument!)

However the privacy issue isn’t what this post is about. It’s been sitting on my desk waiting to be written for just over a week now after an airport incident. I live relatively close to an international airport and as such am happy to pick up or drop off friends who have a flight. Last Sunday I was collecting. When collecting you normally have a bit more time to spend at the airport as trying to predict time at passport control, baggage collection is near enough impossible. While waiting I saw someone leave the secure area and what startled me was that their laptop (and I mean laptop, not tablet) was already open and they were working on. Now phones is one thing, but a laptop I found odd.

However, odd as it was, it prompted this post. Just how technologically addicted are we. This person seemed quite a distance along the spectrum given they had started using the laptop while still in the secured area of the airport. (I do have images of them walking through customs with ‘Nothing to declare’ on their laptop screen!

I’ll concede that I spend a fair bit of time in front of a screen of one sort or another. At work it’s all the time unless at a break or meeting (though even at the meetings there is still a chance of a screen being there). At home I will often be in front of the screen in one way or another. Be it a You Tube exercise video, a job search or some more leisurely activity. However I would like to hope that I use these when I want to rather than out of compulsion.

This is not the case everywhere though. Often you see groups of people out together but not interacting with each other but on their phones. I hope they aren’t messaging each other rather than speaking, but who knows. Increasingly this is also moving into the tablet arena as well. If I’m going out somewhere with someone I don’t want the phone to be the centre of attention the whole time. Obviously occasionally it might need checking, but not as often as people often seem to feel. If you’re spending time with someone in person, then do so. If you want to be on the phone, then do so, let the other person spend time with someone who wants to spend time with them!

Moving on from the merely social aspect, we see people who, for one reason or another, are willing to break the law in relation to their mobile phones, actively using them while driving. I would estimate I see someone on the phone while driving about 2 out of every 3 days, and when your commute is only 20 minutes then it’s not like there’s a lot of cars you go past. I’m positive that if you asked these people if they regarded themselves as law abiding they would say ‘of course’, and yet for this they seem more than happy to break the law.

I suppose the test, at the end of the day, like any addiction is ‘can you spend time without it’. From what I have seen and gets reported, I would suggest that for some, and this would be an increasing number, this would be a difficult time. I know I can cope without, and have done numerous times in the past, so while I might use them a lot, I think I pass the addiction test. The question remains though whether others will!

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