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Technology gadgets, specifically our mobile phones, save us time, allow for quick communication and offer opportunity for brevity.

However, they’re like the frog in the kettle analogy…we don’t realize that more and more we are being pulled into the non-humanness of the screen and becoming less aware of how it impacts our everyday manners, social etiquette and face-to-face communication skills.

First, the BAD: For some, screen time has become more important than people time. What did we do before we had our gadgets? We talked to others when we rode in the car. We talked to others when we waited for our table at the restaurant and while we ate. We talked as we waited for the play to start, for the movie to begin and at the wedding reception table. Now, we tend to pull out our phone as if it’s an extension of our arm. We think it makes us appear as if we are very busy people with lots of emails and texts to check. But in reality, it conveys nervousness, lack of confidence and is rude to the people we are with.

So, let’s put our cell phones away… and focus 100% on connecting with real conversation to those we’re with by asking questions and being interested in others.

Next, the UGLY: Our gadgets are a distraction. They beep, buzz and ring with sometimes annoying ring tone “songs” when left on our desk at work when we walk down the hall for coffee, or when we forgot to turn it to vibrate in a meeting. They distract coworkers and shoppers when we have personal and sometimes frivolous or heated conversations in our cubicle at work or when shopping for groceries. They glow incessantly in the darkened movie theater and our Facebook news feed continually vies for attention when we have work deadlines looming. A text alert compels us to look away from the road when driving, imperiling lives.

So, let’s put our phones away…and focus 100% on our job, on the meeting, on the movie and on the traffic.

And finally, the GOOD: Our gadgets can help us accomplish good things when leveraged well. Google and Siri help us find information fast. A quick text (when not driving!) lets our kids know we’ll be home a few minutes late or lets our coworker know the answer to a quick question. Facebook helps us stay in touch with family and friends and Google Maps helps us find our way to that fabulous vacation house on the beach.

So, let’s take our phones out at appropriate times…to Google that astronomy question, that we’re stopping for milk on the way home, and to text our coworker “yes” to please save us the chocolate donut.