Who will save us from Phone Distractions?

By Wr. Gabriel Dinda.
What amount of Cash Prize will it take so that young people  can keep their phones away during meetings? Or what nature of reward can we introduce to get this done?
Have you ever been in a meeting of four young people for instance, and then all of them are on phone, so they contribute while scrolling updates on Twitter. “Mmmm… that’s a ….aa .. a good idea!”….Yeees….Oooh, have you seen the news, that Bahati has a prayer partner!…’ one person would interject. Then the whole group of three persons would start a discussion on the prayer partner and for a moment, they suspend the agenda of the meeting!
Then in just a short while, one of the three gets a call. So they pick it right there. “Eee… so the bash is on Friday, is bae coming?…..Oookay”.  Then immediately one other person receives a message. She mumbles, reads one part a little louder…” Congratulations on submitting your application to be one of the models during the ……unfortunately, your shaaape….’then she lowers her voice in the second part and stops. She then resumes the meeting in a changed mood. She soon goes out without asking to be excused, then later texts the chair to update her on the proceedings of the meeting by Whatsapp.
Have you ever attended such meetings or is it only me? A meeting where everyone is on phone and in the meeting at the same time? How does it make you feel? How about the scope of the meeting? Do you manage to meet it perfectly?
I recently visited a newly wedded lovely couple. I was invited by the man, to go and see their new house. Once at their house, I was served tea by the wife. She brought the tea bag and loaves of bread. She then went to the couch and sat down. She was done! She took her phone and logged into  Instagram. She soon started talking of a local media personality who apparently, according to her, had reduced in weight, and perhaps, was suffering from a break up. She knew it all. On serving myself tea, I realized there was no sugar. How would I ask for it? It would be like a distraction to her, I thought. I decided to take the tea kavu kavu. She then bolted out of the chair and apologized for forgetting to serve me Blue Band all this while. Her apology seemed sincere. I forgave her but didn’t mention the sugar issue. All this while, the husband was on his phone on the other end. He asked me how I had been, and even before I answered, he seemed like he forgot, because he was showing the wife something on Facebook, then they both broke in laughter. I could only smile, like a cat, because I didn’t know what to laugh about.
The situation went on and on. We didn’t share much, till I left. On my way out, they thanked me for visiting them, and appreciated the ‘good time’ we had, and all we shared.
And again, last Saturday, on my way from Strathmore University, where I normally go for some classes, something happened to me. Something not nice. I was harmlessly walking along Madaraka Estate, just before I connected to Langata Road so that I take vehicles to town at Nyayo stadi. My only consideration to walk was to pay Ksh. 20 bob to town and perhaps to exercise . But just before Total Petrol Station, someone rammed into me. I shouted and held my phone tight. I thought I was being robbed. Kumbe, this was a guy who was walking and facebooking at the same time. He rammed into me and his phone was the victim; it fell into the drainage. Quite unfortunate but I didn’t feel sad about it-senji. How demeaning is it to walk while Facebooking, or be in a meeting and keep touching your phone as well. How High School is this, really!
Talking to someone who is perennially on phone makes you feel less of a human. It makes you feel like the ideas you are sharing are worthless and time wasting. It makes you feel bad about yourself, your situation and the other person. Unfortunately, the other person on phone never realizes what they put you through.
What if we just make it a commitment to walk into a meeting, switch off our phones, or put them in a silent mode, and pocket them, give 100% concentration to the meeting and thereafter follow up on the missed calls and texts! And how about we forget Social Media for some time when in a meeting or while walking, driving or talking to others. Won’t this give us more time to concentrate and be more productive?
I think in the 21st Century, the ultimate measure of success will be one who is able to keep away their phone, and concentrate on other things fully. One who is able to allocate his or her time appropriately.
So, make a choice, to behave High School- like, or grow up. I choose the latter.
Edited by Wr. Vera Omwocha

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