Hello Smartphone, I’m The Boss

“Your fly is undone” – Finally I plucked up the courage to tell a fellow passenger standing next to me on the bus this morning. He, like most commuters in this city, had headphones on and was reading stuff on his smartphone. So where should I start? Seeing an intent look on his face, my initial thought was to leave him alone. Part of me though wanted to speak out and save his awkward moment. After weighing it up in my head, I decided to tell him like it is. Instead of saying it verbally, I managed to type down these few words on my smartphone and show the text message in his face. Luckily, my well meaning gentle gesture was subtle enough not to cause a scene on this crowded bus.

Well, it was just a spur of the moment decision. Where did it all stem from? It could’ve been genetically ingrained in my DNA a long while ago – when I see something, I have the urge to say something. It’s just me. Anyway, my surprised move was well-received, he smiled at me and said: “Thank You”, before he had a chance to put his hand down there and zipped it up in a flash.

Speaking of smartphones, a long list of uses can go as far as our imagination takes us to. In the above case, it helped me communicate effectively and discreetly with a stranger, without even speaking a word. However, other smartphone uses, if not watched carefully, can intensify and spiral out of control. They can steal our attention away from things around us. In some serious cases, they can even have accident-prone effects on our health and safety. Arguably, using a smartphone while walking whether it’s day or night and in any given situation is just not a smart thing to do. You can never know what’s around the corner when you aren’t aware of what’s in front of you or beside you. For example, it happened to me some weeks ago when I was scrolling through my smartphone while walking on a sidewalk at night, thinking I was safe on a footpath, not realizing a car from a road was steering towards me, trying to enter a garage right where I was standing – in the middle of the driveway. One big lesson learned and never again.

Smartphones obviously have revolutionized the way we communicate with each other today and how we receive, send and share information. The trend is not going to stop. The challenge for us is to be selective – choose what feeds into our brains and only look out for things that add values to our lives. But no matter how smart, useful and attractive our smartphones are, we need to show to these small devices that we’re the boss. Remember, there’s an I in iPhone and I comes before phone…

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