I just returned from a vacation to Mauritius — AKA Paradise — and South Africa. In Mauritius, I don’t think I opened my laptop and barely accessed my mobile phone. The connection was too slow anyway and the nearest Starbucks was around 4 000 miles away — too far to walk!
South Africa was a different story completely. For a family of five, we passed through security at the airport with seven phones: three iPhone 6s, one iPhone 5c (which I subsequently left on the flight from Cape Town to London, and, thanks to absolutely incompetent customer service from British Airways – you should be ashamed if you work for this airline – it’s somewhere in Phoenix right now), two iPhone 4s (our unlocked ‘local phones’) and finally another iPhone 4 (which functions as an iPod Touch for our little one).
In case there’s any doubt, we’re an Android family (NOT!).
Throughout our stay in Cape Town, we would often place all our phones on a pile in the middle of the table when we visited a restaurant. This of course was when free Wi-Fi wasn’t available and we weren’t able to Instagram all our #blessed #sunset shots and #foodporn snaps.
I dubbed this ‘The Stack’.
I wasn’t proud of this term and often joked that you could spot the Americans a mile away thanks to their abundance of technology.
One dinner we sat with family friends discussing a “social game” where everyone puts their phone in the middle of the table and the first to touch their phone has to pay for the entire meal. Sounds easy to avoid, but not when it becomes an obsession or even an addiction.
There’s an even an app called “Moment” that tracks phone usage via a dashboard to determine the winner (or loser) of this game. The irony of course is that this is an app, so how exactly would you monitor performance without having to use the phone in the first place?
Don’t get me wrong. I love technology. And I love my iPhone. But this trip made me take stock in what is REALLY important and how to better create balance in my and my family’s lives. There’s going to be at least one unhappy teenager around the house when phone time is limited to specific times and occasions.
Are you taking similar steps? At home? On vacation? With yourself versus your family? Are you miles ahead of me or in the same boat? What will your mobile usage resolutions be in 2015?
Incidentally, I appreciate the irony of how I am becoming my parents’ generation in terms of being crotchety, stodgy and old-fashioned. In my day, we used to…
I also appreciate the wisdom of said old-timers and how history keeps repeating itself in terms of the pursuit of balance between the best of the old and best of the new.
With this in mind, I wish you a balanced year ahead of technology usage. Should you be reading this on your mobile phone, you get a free pass from me!
Joseph Jaffe is founder and CEO of Evol8tion, an innovation agency that matches early stage start-ups with blue-chip brands. Follow him on Twitter @jaffejuice. This post was first published on MediaPost.com.
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