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Don’t look at your tablet, look at me!

Give your thumbs a rest and let's talk!
Young couple with tablet (Young couple with tablet image via Shutterstock)
Young couple with tablet (Young couple with tablet image via Shutterstock)

Remember when eye contact was a part of our lives? Recall the days when we didn’t have distractions in our pockets and hands 24/7? Let’s talk mobile etiquette!

Turn Off the Sound

It’s funny to be on the train seeing adults going at it on their tablets and smartphones. I hope they’re playing a game and not having a furious conversation. When it’s time to kill zombies, nothing should stop you. Just one tip — turn off the sound. When you feel the need to level up in public, show some respect to those of us with a little more gaming self restraint.

The Sounds of Silence

It’s eerie to sit in a cafe in Israel. Everyone is staring at their screens and almost no one is interacting with other human beings. Like the Simon & Garfunkel song, I see the sounds of silence.

When the waitress shows up, look her in the eye. My tablet has made me realize how important it is to make eye contact. Who’s running the show here, the people or the devices? Make your own private rules of politeness and stick with them.

Turn Off and Drop In!

There’s a great quote from 60’s LSD guru and troublemaker Timothy Leary:

“George Orwell had it wrong. He was too optimistic. He wrote in 1984 that Big Brother would watch us from screens on the walls of our living rooms or bedrooms. The current horror is that Americans voluntarily stick their amoebic faces toward the screen six or seven hours a day and suck up information that Big Brother is putting there.”

Leary said this in 1987 in an interview to Rolling Stone Magazine. In those days, the Walkman was the most popular mobile device. What would Leary say today? I bet he would refuse to carry around a device with “Big Brother’s GPS.”

Spending more time away from your mobile devices is a great way to regain normal perspective. You’re not going to learn mobile etiquette while whacking monsters on the bus. I play my share of video games, but when I’m out of the house, I love to see and hear what’s going on around me.

Maybe you’ll remember what it was like when people weren’t looking down all the time.

Read Start-Up Israel to keep your finger on the pulse of Israeli high-tech and innovation!

About the Author
Kenny Sahr is a startup marketing executive. His first startup, founded in 1996, was featured in Time Magazine and on 60 Minutes. Kenny moved to Israel from Miami, Florida. In his spare time, he is an avid music collector and traveler.
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