Friday Sep 18

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Seven Deadly Smartphone Sins

I came across a tweet from @AnnTran_ this week which read "Don't be a victim to your smartphone" (a recommended read). It made me think about my own habits when it comes to smartphone use. My first was an iPhone 3G, then a HTC Desire, then a Samsung Galaxy S, and now a HTC Incredible S. The Internet has changed the way the world works and with the rise of mobile devices, I am finding that basic day to day interaction is also changing. I go to restaurants in Brunei and see entire families staring deeply into their smartphones and tablets. I go to a conference in Bali and see participants furiously BBMing one another. I go to a cafe in Adelaide and friends are


Basic day to day interaction is changing. For the better? I am not so sure.

Consequently, I asked a question on Twitter yesterday: Do you think it's okay to be on Twitter, Facebook, etc when around people e.g. at the dinner table? A) Yes it's fine B) No it's rude

Over 60 tweeps responded and the results were not surprising.


I wrote out a list of things to try and stop doing and have put it up on my wall. I decided that I would share it with you.

Seven Deadly Smartphone Sins

Don’t check on your mobile device as if it were on life support. Set it to vibrate, beep or ring (or sing) and unless it alerts you through one of the stated ways, there is really no need to keep checking on it. The message, tweet, update, check-in can wait.

Don’t use the smartphone at the table. Connect and catch up with each other. Joey Reiman said it like this: “Thou shalt not take the Blackberry to any table with food on it or family around it. A Blackberry is not a fruit, nor does it come from a tree.”

Don’t send out negative tweets. By nature, we are reactive and it is way too easy nowadays to speak lowly about something or someone online. The thing is that by the time you regret it and decide to delete that last update, chances are that someone has already taken a screenshot, shared, retweeted, reblogged, or +1'd it. If you stand by your update, be ready to own up and have a reasonable answer for it.

Don’t hide behind the Internet. There is a time and place to read through your Twitter feed, catch up on Facebook status updates, network on LinkedIn and trade on Empire Avenue, but not when you are out with actual people. Look up and away from your smartphone. Talk, connect, catch up, get eye-to-eye in real life with real people.


Don’t WhatsApp, SMS, Tweet, Update, Check-In, Instagram, Tumblr or talk while driving. Actually, let me extend that to “while sitting on the driver’s seat” which includes waiting at a traffic light, when your vehicle is set on cruise-control, when you are reversing out of your driveway. It is goddam dangerous.

Don’t let the Angry Birds bring up your kids. It has become all too convenient to keep the kids occupied (Read: Shut the kids up) by passing the tablet over. Sure, You Tube, iTunes and the Angry Birds are entertaining but they should never replace active parenting or minding.

Don’t bring your smartphone to bed. Period.

Of course I am all for progress and would be the first one to put up my hand to test out beta applications but let's not become victims of our smartphones. We're smarter than that.

What other deadly sins should be added to the list? Do share.

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