As I was preparing to teach a class recently on the subject of technology and our relationships I came across these two fascinating videos. When it comes to new technologies mobile phones have had one of the largest impacts on us in the last decade or two. The first video is a commercial for one of the earliest mobile phones dating back to 1997. It is fascinating to see the message AT&T was trying to send us about these new devices. As we watch this busy working mom try and head out the door we are hit with the painful plea from the daughter, “Mom when can I be a client?”. I am not a parent yet but I would have to think that would be pretty heart wrenching to hear from your own kids. The ad then quickly gives us the answer, mobile phones! These new devices were going to make it possible for us to work less and spend more time with our families. Unfortunately it takes a little closer look at the final scene to see that while they are together at the beach the daughter is still very much alone. I wonder if the makers of this ad realized the implications of that final scene?
Now let’s fast forward to the present and what is one of my all time favourite Super Bowl commercials.
At first glance the situations people find themselves in during this ad seem absurd. Though watch it a second time and honestly ask yourself how many of these you have either participated in or been a victim. I know I was surprised to find that it was a shockingly accurate account of where we have taken this new technology. In 15 years the message had clearly gone from a device that would save our relationships, to a device that our relationships needed saving from.
This post is not supposed to be just simply a look at how horrible we are with our phones. Instead I want us to think about that new device that may have come out this month. What message are we being sent about it? This is something we need to be thinking about. We need to be disciplined in how we embrace new technologies and be open to the notion that while there are positive applications there most likely will be negative ones as well. This will then allow us to focus on how we can avoid slipping into those negative habits early on.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below:
Have you found yourself participating in any of the situations shown in the Windows Phone Ad?
What messages do you see the major tech companies sending us about their latest devices?
Do you think technology can be the answer to another technologies problem (ie. Windows Phone)?
What do you think?