Retirement Life

Fri, 2 Nov, 2018Over60

Does a smartphone make us smart?

Does a smartphone make us smart?

Barbara Binland is the pen name of a senior, Julie Grenness, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. She is a poet, writer, and part-time English and Maths tutor, with over 40 years of experience. Her many books are available on Amazon and Kindle.

Does a smartphone make us smart?

Once upon a childhood, we recall that we lived in a different world. On Saturday

afternoons, our parents would drive us to a far-flung suburb, where our maternal

grandparents lived. The adults loved us dearly, but believed that children should be seen

and not heard.

We would arrive punctually at 2pm. After a brief pit stop, our Nanna would say,

“Go for a walk!” Our mother would add, “Come back at four o’clock.” So that is exactly what

we did.

In an unfamiliar suburb, with no street directory, or no GPS, or no watches to tell

the time, not even a modern plastic bottle of water for refreshment, three young

Australians would “Go for a walk!” Thus, we walked, past front yard gardens, along strange

streets. We would walk for approximately one hour, then we turned around and walked

back to our grandparents’ home. My elder sister must have had a good sense of geography.

Upon reflection, I do wonder what the current parent police would say now, to such

child-raising habits. As every reader is aware, these days, there are smart phones employed

to supervise children’s adventures in society. Such smart phones had not been imagined

once, let alone invented.

Our oldies collectively had no idea where we were walking to, or even if we would

return let alone at the correct time. Somehow, we just knew it was nearly four o’clock in

the afternoon. Maybe we all lived in a safer world, where we were mostly a lot more naïve

than folk and children are today.

Times change. These days, in the digital world of the 21st century, if children go for

a walk, the parent police phone their offspring up every five minutes on their smart phones.

As passers-by, we can hear some very strange conversations, in shopping centres or railway

stations. Here is one I heard, not long ago.

The parent police must have asked, “Where are you now?”

Teenager on phone: “I am at the shops, Mum.”

Mum must have inquired, “Where are you going?”

Teenager’s response: “I am going to the loo!”

Mum’s next question, “What are you doing now?”

Teenager, sounding slightly exasperated, “I’m in the loo, having a wee! Mum!””

Well, really. I wondered if it was really necessary to share with society, including

Now there is someone calling on my smart phone! Whoops missed call. I must cease

everything and return the call. It seems everyone I see is either gazing at a smart phone, or

chatting on one. Are we so scared to be alone?

Are we all like the teenager in the shopping centre loo, with her mother calling her

incessantly on her smart phone, the modern parent police? Would parents in these modern

days even say, “Go for a walk!”, to send their children off for two hours, with no time pieces,

or smart phones to monitor them? These days the parents must check for the location of

their children, and for potential predators.

So, the world is no longer as safe as it once appeared to be. There was the famous

case of the Beaumont children. “Go for a walk, go for a swim!” Those three children have,

unfortunately, never been seen again.

Amazingly, the three young girls we once were never disappeared, got lost, and

always arrived back by four o’clock, unmolested. These days, our mother would have

phoned us every five minutes on our smart phones, so we were not feeling apart. The smart

phone is a great invention, but if everyone has to relate every action on a smart phone, has

the smart phone really made us smart? Food for thought. “See ya!” (The great Australian

smart phone farewell.). Yeah, “See ya!”