The Phone Lady vs. Smartphone Culture ~ The Imaginative Conservative
An enterprising woman has noticed the social void caused by texting and instant messaging and launched a company that teaches phone skills to youth. But can she help solve the moral problems of an era of shallow and selfish relationships?
Smartphones have reportedly made possible an era of unprecedented communication. Everyone, especially young people, use these devices to contact anyone, anytime and anywhere. With the touch of a screen, a whole world of instant information and contacts is at your fingertips. The best relationships should flourish.
However, many youth need assistance using their smartphone to speak directly to others. Everything happens via impersonal tweets or texts. As a result, many people feel a sense of coldness and distance from devices that should be communicating the opposite.
One enterprising woman noticed a social void and started a company that teaches phone skills to an over-communicated public.
Mary Jane Copes is called the phone lady, She says the younger generation no longer has the phone skills that facilitated human interactions in the past. These same skills are still needed in the real world of human and business relationships.
Thus, business and social leaders find that many people suffer from anxiety when speaking directly with people on the line, even their mothers. No one bothered to teach Gen Z phone skills.
It is not just a technical matter. Therein lies an inherent problem with iPhone culture. Texting and instant messaging are designed to make connecting with contacts effortless and quick. For example, a young man does not need to seek or know the nature of the recipient of his message. He feels free to interrupt whatever the other person is doing and expects a quick response. The encounter is distant, brutal and isolated from the social context.
Worse yet, instant messaging culture lacks subtlety. Primitive texts cannot convey context and tone. At most, emotion is sometimes limited to exclamation points, caps, and emoji. The recipient of a message often has no real way of knowing whether the text is meant to convey anger, neutrality, or warmth. The vast range of human feelings, emotions and sentiments cannot find adequate expression in a short text.
the richness of the human voice
On the other hand, the human voice is exceptionally expressive and rich. The voice can indicate doubt, excitement, happiness, sadness and anxiety in just a few words. Its intensity can make the voice whisper and shout. The speed of the voice communicates deliberation or urgency.
However, what worries Gen Z about voice calls is the conversation, not the nuance or context. Phone calls force a person to connect with another in real time. One must improvise and the other must adjust. Conversation forces a person to think about the other person and not about himself. It requires effort, courtesy and charity.
Negotiation introduces an element of the unknown that must be addressed immediately. And this causes concern in new generations.
$480 Coaching Sessions
The Phone Lady clearly addresses these fears without the fear of charging too much. Her one-on-one coaching sessions run $480 an hour. The cost of a 30-minute webinar is $365. Businesses can hold a workshop for their phone-shy Gen Zers for $3,500 per day.
De-texting therapy usually begins with the client abstaining from all instant messaging. To overcome the fear of the unknown, clients are encouraged to call family and friends to chat or when they need something.
“If they are not used to talking to their mother on the phone, the process is very scary,” Ms. Cope explains. “So I can’t say that I’m going to call them potential clients because they’ll be split up—we start with their family or someone they know.”
At any time of day, the phone lady will call on customers to practice conversation and develop improvisational skills. From there, she teaches how to connect with unknown clients and develop business relationships that go beyond mere email and text messages. Businesses willingly pay for these services as there is a need for these skills in real life which many lack.
dangers of smartphone
Smartphones have taken away basic communication skills from users. In fact, it seems almost unreal that someone like the Phone Lady even exists. Basic personal contact with others is so natural that it need not be taught to adults.
The irony is that people who lack these skills have a tool in their hands that can help them overcome their pesky problem. They can overcome their loneliness and anxiety by building up the courage to call someone and talk to them for help and comfort.
The smartphone contributes to an era of superficial and self-centered relationships. Everything is focused on the device, which becomes the medium through which so much can be seen. By denying personal contact, people deprive themselves of the immense satisfaction of developing direct human relationships. The monotonous screen also replaces those conflicts and arguments needed to build characters and add spice to life.
The phone lady can help a person overcome a tangible disability. However, she cannot solve the moral problems of the culture on the basis of personal satisfaction and comfort. God created human beings as social beings who find their fulfillment and sanctity in relationships with others. Smartphones being the preferred choice for texting naturally lead to frustration and anxiety.
Alas, the smartphone was not so smart.
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