I was fortunate to be able to attend a professional development conference last week.
While the wintry weather prohibited many from attending and did encourage my early departure, I was happy to be able to attend and I am grateful for the knowledge I was provided with.
I look forward to implementing what I have learned into my daily activities at Delta Publications.
What was most striking to me however, was the number of heads bowed down during the keynote speaker’s luncheon address.
They were not praying, they were using their cell phones.
The keynote speaker was an award winning, nationally known journalist.
As I listened to what he had to say, it appeared he projected the very same slanted, biased views that a large number of citizens are vehemently rejecting in many of today’s national media outlets.
I believe the most telling part of the hour was when the audience filled with journalists, reporters and journalism students were asked if there were any questions for this high profile speaker.
Not one person in the ballroom raised their hand.
A room full of journalists and reporters and not one question? Most definitely startling.
But back to my original observation. During the speaker’s address, I looked around the room and was surprised to see so many heads not pointed toward the speaker, but looking down.
Making this observation, I continued to scan the room at various times during the speaker’s presentation.
At any given time, more than half of those sitting at each table near mine and as far as I could see were on their phones. Young and old alike were more interested in what was on their phone than what the speaker had to say.
The thought did enter my mind that perhaps they were tweeting or sharing the events of the convention via social media, but a quick study of nearby attendees proved that possible theory incorrect.
I wondered what the speaker thought as he viewed the room while he was sharing his thoughts. Surely he must have noticed, but perhaps it is the norm in this day and age.
Look around the next time you are in a waiting room at a doctor’s office or other place of business. You will be lucky if you can find one person reading a magazine or sharing a word with the person sitting next to them.
It is often surprising, if not rather amusing, to see members of board meetings I attend also looking at their phones—during the actual meetings.
While I will admit that I am rarely without my phone, mostly due to my desire to always be available for my children, I am happy that I am still able to have a meal or conversation or watch a show without the need to constantly look at it. And I relish the ability to make eye contact, smile, and enjoy a nice conversation with a stranger in public, an increasing rare opportunity.
It makes one wonder how soon before cell phones will be classified as the newest addiction worthy of treatment.
If you do a little research, you will find out that it is already a reality for some.
According to the PEW Research Center, 67% of smart phone owners have admitted to checking their phone for calls or messages when their phone didn’t vibrate or ring.
A study done by the Journal of Behavioral Addictions determined some cell phone users show the same symptoms that a drug addict might have.
There are also guidelines available to gauge and treat teenage cell phone addiction.
With children receiving cell phones at a younger age every year while also growing up watching their parents glued to their phones, this is not all that surprising.
While cell phones and social media have been undoubtedly amazing technological advancements throughout the years, it makes one wonder if eventually they will also become some of the worst.
I hope we can all at least on occasion enjoy good old fashion face to face conversations, family and friends game nights, and dinners and other social events without burying our faces in our cell phones.
Appreciating our families and friends and the time we spend with them, as well as the opportunities we are presented with without constantly looking at our phones is a lofty, but worthwhile goal.

Challenge yourself to keep your chin up and see what you’ve been missing.