Put Down That Phone And Talk To Me: Mixing Mobile Phones and Relationships

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Put Down That Phone And Talk To Me: Mixing Mobile Phones and Relationships
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If we believe the media (as well as common wisdom), our mobile phones are ruining our relationships. But is that really the case? This presentation explains new research from the University of Kansas and Microsoft Research which shows that when it comes mobile devices and their impact on our relationships, there's no need to panic just yet.
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chairman along was them but also the Microsoft
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thank you and thank you and I I OK hello everyone
my name is kate known as testing just said and I work at Microsoft Research New England in Boston try all doing him a good time and it's the same morning uh of loss of applied in about you that I've
been having a great time at the conference so far this is actually my 2nd time Republican and the overarching theme of my 2
sessions this year is mobile phones last nite I ran an experimental emu g carrier of the sessions that involve audience participation in group sing and here out this morning will be slightly different over the next 20 minutes I'm going to talk about the ways in which are mobile phone habits or since we are in Germany should as they are handy habits and in fact the interpersonal relationships I rather think this
is quite a timely subjects given that on Wednesday there was a crafting station outside that allowed you to make your own mobile phone blocking back which is that where that picture's from and hopefully this talk will convince you that those are not
entirely necessary OK the clicker does not
the so just as a bit of housekeeping please tweet your comments using the hashtag phone public as well as our 14 and in this talk is also part of Microsoft's I involvement in discussion so feel free to use the hashtag as well the so this presentation is based upon a study that
was a collaborative project my 2 co-authors were Dr. Jeffrey Hall an associate professor in the communications department at the University of Kansas and my colleague Dr. Nancy Baym a principal researcher at Microsoft Research New England this project has its origins in the concerns about the impact of
mobile phones in our most important relationships specifically that they are responsible for the fact that we are disconnected and their relationships are deteriorating as a result my co-author
Dr. brain is an expert in interpersonal communication technology
and sorry that's really in there can kill you just hold on a 2nd yes hello new
nodes solid line I never so hard to get a man a land use as they have a lot of cases this is back in the OK
do a thing and there will be a variety of the company by 1 so the tail and all of them in the we
use the the ready on
tuesday talk at the all that would
be and K. is the 2
year old to see through the use of the danger in of
a job the
right so rules about mobile phone behavior whether they are explicitly
posted or not everybody has their own ideas about what is and is not appropriate shockingly even Americans the video I just showed you actually was an advertisement that would play in movie theaters in early 2 thousands and you ask to remind people in an entertaining way that they needed to turn off the phones or at
least a month silent and refrain from talking loudly during the the while the ad is
intentionally absurd because points finding it very clearly illustrates that there are certain social guidelines regarding what behavior is considered to be acceptable or unacceptable in certain contexts in social science
research we refer to these guidelines as injunctive norms injunctive norms are social rules that guide behavior behavior they're not absolute standards and they often change over time furthermore these norms often vary depending on your age gender location in culture and social groups however it no matter how old you are or where you're from if you violate a widely accepted norm you're going to be judged by the other people around injunctive norms violations are often a source of culture clash or tension between different generations the here's a good example in
United Kingdom I lived for a few years it's not customary to take more than 10 per cent you anything at all in the last if few to less than 20 per cent of your server will be incredibly offended and angry and you
probably should not plan on going back to the rest of when it comes to technology and particularly personal technology is there are a lot of norms that govern how their use particularly in public places for example
the expectations that you shouldn't play music without headphones on public transportation or that you shouldn't use flash photography particularly in a museum or during a theater production in a
flash photography role is so widespread that it's actually become somewhat of a mean when it comes to mobile phones there are a lot of social norms although they can vary
depending on what country or even cities live and a generally speaking there are a few
commonly held rules when it comes to proper mobile phone at 1 is you shouldn't talk loudly about personal issues and public you shouldn't use your phone at the dinner table you shouldn't use your
phone when you're with someone else or when she paying attention to something else like a really really interesting keynote conference for example so as I mentioned at the start of this talk
before we so we're so rudely interrupted by my fake phone call on this project came into being after my co-author Dr. brain was laughter on radio show for suggesting that our relationships were not in fact being ruined by are bad mobile funding here however perhaps it's not so surprising that her position was met with such disbelief given that trust frequently tells us in no uncertain terms that are found or condemning us to a life of ruined relationships these articles make
dialog proclamations that if you text at the dinner table talk loudly in public text when you're with other people or violate any of the other injunctive norms that have been mentioned in this presentation you will alienate your loved ones and end up alone now I'm a big
fan of audience participation so I'm going to take a minute to ask you all the questions that the I want and do and so how many of
you think it's wrong to use your phone your with other people raise your hands not that many of how about
taxing at the table try talking
loudly in public I think there we go so how many of you have actually done those things and I promise not to
judge you because I was at a restaurant out there we go OK there we go OK so how many of you have ever had a friend or partner ended their relationship with you because you violated those rules excellent my point exactly
can some from personal experience and because she is a critical media
scholar Dr. brain was pretty sure that this whole Phones Ringing relationships thing was a little off she hypothesize that mobile phones
only cause relationship issues if you and your partner had different attitudes or norms regarding mobile phone so we decided to see if she was right to do this I collect a list of common rules concerning mobile phone behavior and then we surveyed 69 university students either friends or romantic partners about 4 things how much they agreed with each rule and how important it was to follow that rule how often they themselves follow those rules how often their friends or romantic partner follow those rules
and the quality of that particular relationship
but to measure the quality of the pairs relationship we looked at 3 traditional indicators of relationship quality which are commitments liking and satisfaction to we also had a
hunch that the social context or
where these rules were either followed or word was also important so we asked the study participants to imagine 3 different contexts when they introduced question illustrated here by the minions from despicable me 1 together with the other half of the survey pair in a
very public setting or with the group own together with that person in public but in a more intimate setting like a table for 2 in a restaurant or along with the other half
of the survey care in private so what happens well it turns out that Dr. right whether or not we follow societal norms for mobile phone use does not have an
impact on the quality of our personal relationships this is not only if he however the key word here is is societal norms what everyone else thinks is not the issue here which is the
issue is what we call internalize norms these are our own internal standards for behavior our own personal set of normative beliefs and it turns out that these are important particularly when it
comes to how a relationships function the old
adage and catchy Paula Abdul song stating that opposites attract however when it comes to satisfying relationships the perception that you are similar to your partner is actually very important now whether you
are actually similar to them is another story but if you think that you were similar to your partner and you are more likely to like them feel more satisfied in the relationship and consequently feel more committed to them so in our study and the
role of perceived similarity was key in the public one-on-one contacts like at a cafe table you were less likely to believe that mobile phones were an issue in relationship if you believe that you and your partner shared the same rules and if you believe that your partner followed those rules in the private one-on-one context when people were totally alone together people like their partners more and felt more committed to them
when they felt like they share the same ideas about appropriate mobile phone behavior OK so what about fully public situations what this is where people felt that it was most important to obey the rules of the
however these were personal rules or internalize norms and not the societal or injunctive norms the more that people believe their partners follow their rules and public the more they like them and if you concerned they had about the impact of mobile phones and their relationship the In a funny
discovery it turns out that the participants own behavior not just their partners impacted how they felt about the relationship when participants themselves thought that we followed their own rules they
like their partners more and felt more committed to them I'm not exactly sure why this this but this is actually good news for relationships because we
also discovered perhaps not surprisingly that we all think that we are better at following the rules than everybody else the so as that from the fact that we
think that we're greater following the rules what can we learn from this study on a larger scale 1st it's important to understand that
what is happening in the media with mobile phones is not a one-off parts connected to the issues of norms and new technology the phenomenon of media panics a media
panic if the public discourse that involves a heightened criticism about a new medium or technology it tends to involve all sorts of dire proclamations any usually tends to act as a focal point for some deeper underlying concern often related to larger social issues for changes media can explore as old as the hills 1 of the earliest media panics can be found in Plato Phaedrus where Socrates warned against the dangers of writing arguing that it
would make people ignorant and hard to get along new technologies have always cost panic In
the past 100 years we've had panics about the radio television and the Internet among many other things these panics touch on a wide variety of issues but the 1 common thread or at least 1 of the common thread is the
fear that these technologies are altering were diminishing the authenticity of human connection even Socrates was concerned with these issues of authenticity versus superficiality he was worried that writing would make it harder to have exchanges of true wisdom otherwise known as this conversations sound familiar many
billion people have written at length about media and or technology panics but I find that this rather funny comments from xk CDs sums it up quite nicely and as you can see from the red arrows on the rights of mobile
phones logically in quite a few of those boxes if we look at the many articles
that restlessly address these issues connectivity or the lack thereof is at the core of my I phone is ringing my marriage that woman in the photos prioritizing her phone over her baby not of the talk but I
think you get picture but you may be
saying what about all those people on the street you are immersed in their problems sure those people exist but according to a recent study by Professor Keith Hampton of Rutgers University New Jersey the people on their phones are usually a and not with other people or in
groups and even if the people are on their phones they usually only make up 3 to 10 per cent of the people in a particular public space it turns out that we just see them because people spend more time in
public spaces and the used OK me saying but what about all those people on
trains and other forms of public transport everyone is on the phone right well I hate to break it to you but it's not like people were engaged in the conversation on public transport before the advent of mobile phone as a mobile phones and what we can
do with them change norms for appropriate behavior both in and out of relationships will be negotiated and renegotiated over and over again the rules that we have for mobile phones now are not likely going to be the rules that we have in the future and this certainly what services we certainly weren't of rules that we had when mobile phones
1st came on the scene the
final form the core of the issue on the on the communities in in the high seas and we look really had actually comes from
communicating with the affordable conventional cellular telephone you can go away and write
here for you so here's
how it operates on a share of the of overall transport also told the radio shack I
love the nineties OK so as you can see in the hilarious advertisement that we just watched many of the selling points of the car phone that leaves the
car are things that are now considered to be common norm violations talking on the golf course at
dinner on vacation and when you were supposed to be spending time with your family so what this study shows is that there are not simple answers to questions
of how mobile phones and their use impact relationships 1st put mobile phone behavior means in any given relationship depends on many things every relationship is different so there isn't going
to be 1 set of rules that probably applies to everybody secondly it's important to remember
that mobile phone use is only 1 factor of many when it comes to how well a relationship works furthermore the problems that are reportedly caused by
phones are often communication problems in disguise if your partner is upset that you are texting at the dinner table is most likely that the real issue is that he
or she is upset that you aren't paying attention to them replaced found with the television in a computer or even a book in the same vector ship understanding how
mobile phones truly impact relationships starts by rejecting the idea that there is only 1 standard for behavior and that failing to adhere to that standard has the same impact on everyone if we're going to truly understand the
interaction between phones and relationships we need to see mobile phone use as simply part of a complex puzzle whose pieces are different for everyone and constantly changing over time so if your annoyed by the way your friend or romantic partner is using their mobile phones the best course of action is
just talking about it and figure out where your expectations might be similar or different but just in case you might wanna do
that face-to-face thank you very much the fashion