5 Things You Should Think About Before Unlocking Your Phone

Two focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Technology. Our cell phones and mobile devices have become integral parts of our lives. As such its important to consider how to get the most out of them. The following contributed post is entitled, 5 Things You Should Think About Before Unlocking Your Phone.

* * *

Photo by Bagus Hernawan on Unsplash

Unlocking your phone is a great way to get more out of your phone. Cell phone unlocking allows you to use your cell phone on any network, giving you more flexibility with your device and saving money in the long run. Here are five things to keep in mind before unlocking your phone:

You get to choose you own carrier

If you want to unlock your phone, you should consider the carrier. Unlocking your phone means that you can use it on any network. This is important because there are many different carriers, and each of them has different plans. If you’re trying to save money and use a plan that isn’t offered by your current carrier, then unlocking your phone may be right for you.

The process of unlocking a phone involves opening up the device and removing some software restrictions that prevent it from being used on other networks. This can be done through a third party who offers degoogled phones or by the carrier itself.

Cell phone unlocking offers more affordable options

When you unlock your phone, you have the freedom to choose a cheaper carrier when traveling internationally where local carriers are less expensive than roaming fees from your home provider. Additionally, unlocked phones can be purchased used at a lower price point than locked devices because there is less of a barrier for those who already have an established relationship with a wireless company.

Unlocking your phone allows you to cover more areas

Unlocking your phone allows you to use it on multiple carriers. Unlocking your phone allows you to use it in other countries. Unlocking your phone allows you to use it in rural areas, where there may not be enough signal for a carrier and another carrier might have a stronger one.

You get increased resale value for your phone

If you plan on selling your phone, be sure it’s unlocked before doing so. A locked phone can only be used with one carrier, while an unlocked phone is compatible with any compatible network. This makes your device more valuable and easier to sell—you can get rid of that old iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S8 without paying a carrier any fees, or you could even sell it internationally if you’re looking to make some extra cash!

You can use a single phone internationally

Unlocking your phone allows you the freedom to use it wherever you go. If you travel often and need a SIM card for each country, unlocking will save money in the long run. You can also use your phone to call and text friends and family back home if they have an international plan with their carrier.

Additionally, many phones come with GPS capabilities that can help travelers find places such as restaurants or hotels without having to rely on a map or ask strangers for directions.

In conclusion, unlocking for your phone has a variety of benefits, that will allow you the freedom to use your phone and increase its security. So if you’re interested in unlocking your phone, you should definitely consider it.

Quick and Easy Ways to Make Money From Your Phone

Three focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money, Business/Entrepreneurship and Technology. With the invention of the smartphone, a host of new possibilities were also created. The following contributed post is entitled, Quick and Easy Ways to Make Money From Your Phone.

* * *

Image credit

There are many ways you can start a side hustle and earn some extra cash. However, this can take a lot of time and investment. If you are looking to make quick money without a large monetary or time investment to get you started, then there are plenty of alternatives from the convenience of your phone.

Mobile phones have only become more sophisticated with time, and you are now able to house everything on a small device, from your photos and contacts to streaming your favorite Netflix shows and making money.

Put your smartphone to good use and make some extra cash. Here are some of the top ways you can make money from your phone that are quick and easy to do.

#1 Market research firms

There are a plethora of market research firms around the world that will allow you to sign up and take part in the research. Some of the easiest ways you can do this are to sell your data. Once you have found a company you are happy to work with and installed their app, you don’t have to do anything else for it. Market research firms will use your data for their research and in return, you get paid for it.

#2 User testing

There is a demand for user testers all around the world. Many big brands want people to test their applications and websites before they go out to market. You can do all of the user testing from your phone. All these companies ask for in return is feedback that will help them improve their branding, websites and services. You can simply test websites and leave reviews, or you can take part in online interviews (which can be done on your phone if you have a video conference app installed).

#3 Betting

Betting is a fun, convenient and easy way to earn some extra money from your phone. It is also extremely simple to get started with. There are many types of betting that you can get involved in, and many that carry fewer risks, for example, binary options, which come with two different payouts. You just need to find reputable binary options trading brokers to help you get started.

#4 Surveys

If you have 5-10 minutes per day, then you may wish to work through some surveys. These are simple to complete and can be done on your smartphone. There are a variety of different surveys to choose from, some are a few minutes and some are much longer. You can opt for cash, or gift cards in return for your time.

#5 Investment apps

If you don’t need cash right now, you can use your smartphone to invest your money to help you secure your future. There are a variety of apps on the market, for example, Betterment, that can guide you to invest and take control of your money. Many of the applications will enable you to create your own goals, that will help you to create a plan tailored to your budget and needs. This is a great and hassle-free way to get started with investing and making money.

If you don’t have the time or desire to start a side hustle, but you would like to earn a little extra money, these are some of the top ways to get started using your phone.

Phone Etiquette Tips For Business

Two focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. A component of your business is its customer service. Even in today’s digital age, a key aspect of that is communication over the phone. The following contributed post is entitled, Phone Etiquette Tips For Business.

* * *

Phone etiquette is very important for maintaining customer satisfaction and representing your brand professionally. Your manner on the phone matters, and will change how your customers feel about you and how effective your business is.

Image – free for commercial use

Here’s what every business owner needs to know about managing phone lines, whether you’re a one-man band using your mobile phone, or a larger business with a voip phone provider.

Be Consistent

Make sure everyone answers the phone in the same way. If it’s an inbound call, all the customer wants to know is that they have called the right place. Keep your hello brief. Choose a professional greeting that mentions the company and then your own name. Don’t waste time with extras like, “How can I help you?”. Something like, “Hello, Mary’s Cafe, Ryan speaking,” is enough.

Never Interrupt

Don’t interrupt a complaining customer. It can be hard to do this, but listen to the whole problem, no matter how long the customer talks. Even if you use call center that will hand off the call to a member of your staff, listening to the whole problem is important so that the customer feels you are taking them seriously.

Use The Hold Button

Make sure everyone at your company knows how to use your phone system, including the hold button. Never put the phone to your chest to muffle the mouthpiece so you can talk to someone in the office. Clients might hear things that you don’t want them to hear.

Use The Transfer Button

You need to know how to transfer someone to another member of your team. Tell your customer something like, “The best person to handle this is Claire, so I’m going to transfer you.” If you need time to find Claire or explain the customer’s problem to her, tell the customer this, and put them on hold, so they understand why they’re waiting. Make sure Claire takes the call with some knowledge of what the problem is.

Keep Customers Informed

It’s important to train your team on this. They need to give the customer a list of what they are going to do, then a longer timeframe than necessary. Do this, because when you solve their problem faster than you said you would, the customer is pleased and feels you went above and beyond to help them. If you take longer than you said, they’ll be annoyed.

Smile When Your Talk

You can hear when someone is smiling. When you smile while you’re speaking on the phone makes a detectable difference to your tone of voice, so make sure that your team sounds as though they’re in a good mood when they’re on the phone. If a member of your team sounds bored or miserable, it will be worse on the phone, as the customer can’t see their body language. Words and inflection are very important over the phone, more so than they are in a face-to-face encounter. Smile, and keep your tone friendly and professional when you talk.

Simples Ways To Declutter Your Phone Once And For All

A key focus of my blog is Technology. Our phones are central parts of lives now. Depending on the lives we live, they become cluttered and complicate our lives. Keep them decluttered is thus critical. The following contributed post is entitled, Simples Ways To Declutter Your Phone Once And For All.

* * *

Do you sometimes feel as though your phone is like a cluttered mess? If you want to make a positive change then this is the guide for you. You will soon find that it is more than possible for you to live a life that is calmer and free from clutter, not to mention that you can also feel confident that you will always be able to access everything you need.

Delete any Unused Apps

There is nothing worse than downloading an app, only to find that it wasn’t as great as you thought it would be. If you want to help yourself to get organized, then you have to make sure that you purge your phone of anything that you do not need. This will help you to stay on top of things far more than you realize. If you have an iPhone, then you will be able to see how much you have used an app in the last week and it also helps you to see how much battery it is using as well. If you have an Android phone, then you can easily install an app tracker. This can include Quality Time or even Frequency.

Hide Apps that Aren’t Frequent

You probably have a couple of apps or tools in your phone that you don’t have to use very often. You may find that this includes a photo editing app or even a game. Some even come pre-installed on your phone, and they are built into the operating system. Sometimes you can’t delete them, but they may come in handy later down the line. It is possible for you to hide things like this if you don’t feel as though you need them. If you are using an Android device, then you should know that there are apps out there that can include Nova Launcher or even Apex Launcher. Depending on the model of phone you have, you may even be able to create your very own app folders. Regardless of your approach, how cluttered your phone feels will be dependent on how many apps you have, so take the time to delete them now and again.

Source: Pexels (CC0 License)

Create some Folders

Creating folders is ideal if you want to try and keep everything organized on your phone. Create a huge range of folders and then categorize everything. Folders are ideal as they stop your phone from feeling cluttered or distracting. It’s a very good idea for you to put any time eaters, such as Facebook or Instagram into folders so it is not the first app you see when you open your phone. This is ideal if you feel as though you want to really spend less time on social media, or if you run a business.

Organize the Apps by Task

If you know that it suits your organizational style, it is wise for you to try and create a folder that is based on what apps do. Creating a scheduling folder, an organizational folder, and a communication folder is certainly the way to go. You can also create folders for your fitness apps as well as your health and workout. If you are a blogger you may want to try and create content for your notes, your Pinterest and even any other tools that you may use. If you are struggling for storage space, then you may want to try and look into how to use Amazon Photos.

Organize Apps by Usage

You can also organize your folders by their usage if you want. It is very easy for you to create folders by looking at the apps you use the most. Move any apps that you do not use to another screen if you want to declutter your phone as this will keep it nice and accessible.

On your phone, you can even organize your folders by using emojis. They are visually appealing, and you can easily keep track of things this way if you are a very visual person. You can use the emoji of a person running if you want to keep track of your fitness results, for example.

If you do not want to use folders, then try and organize your apps alphabetically if you can. This is a very easy way for you to find everything you need and if you have an Android, you can download an app to do this for you. This is a very good way for you to try and make sure that you keep that in mind if you want to try and add some order to your phone.

Helping Older People Choose The Right Mobile Phone

Two key focuses of my blog are Health/Wellness and Technology. Mobile phones have now become a part of our everyday lives. While the younger generations can and will adapt more easily to the technology, it can be a daunting task for the older generations. The following contributed post is entitled, Helping Older People Choose The Right Mobile Phone.

* * *

A mobile phone is an everyday essential item that lets you stay in touch with family and friends. Some older people may have put off getting a mobile phone for many years, but now more than ever, it’s important to stay in contact with each other. Choosing a mobile phone can be hard as there are many devices to select from. If you are helping an older person choose a new phone, there are some things to consider.

Although there are many models available, there are two main types of phones to choose from, cell phones and smartphones. Cell phones have features that are designed to help older people, like emergency buttons, hearing aid support, and GPS tracking. The buttons are considerably bigger on a cell phone, and the interface is much easier to navigate.

Smartphones are more advanced and can be beneficial for seniors who are more tech-savvy. With features such as a bigger and brighter display, it makes it easier for older people who have eyesight problems. Another bonus for smartphones is that they come with a protective case so they won’t get badly damaged if they fall on the floor.

The below infographic from Fanmisenior explains in further detail the differences between a cell phone and smartphone and looks at which of two may be better suited to older people. When it comes to helping them choose the right phone, you need to keep in mind the different features and which will be more beneficial. Check the infographic out here.

Infographic Design By https://www.fanmisenior.com/news/what-is-the-best-mobile-phone-for-older-people-infographic

Cell Phone Coverage 2020

A key focus of my blog is Technology. Cell phones have become a part of our new digital world and all our lives. Its technology is ever evolving and it’s important to keep track of it. The following contributed post is entitled, Cell Phone Coverage 2020.

* * *

When it comes to choosing the ideal cell phone provider, one of the most significant questions that you need to ask is “what kind coverage are you going to get?” For a long time this was just a matter of knowing what kind of signal you would get for phone calls. However, the coverage that different networks provide these days is often very different.

After all, not only does your cell phone network have to provide coverage for making and receiving calls but also for sms messaging. Not only that but with the rise of smartphones and other smart devices, the importance of digital data speeds are becoming a bigger and bigger concern. A network that doesn’t provide fast 5G coverage in certain areas is going to present a big issue for a lot of people both in their personal life but also in terms of their working lives as well.

If you’re trying to find the best possible coverage then you need to know who it is who’s going to be able to provide you with it and who you can rely on for consistent coverage no matter where you are or what you’re doing. The truth is that these factors can often be very changeable. Which providers offer the best coverage in which state is something that is often in flux so it’s always a good idea to make sure that you have all of the information that you need before making a decision.

The following infographic gives you all of the information you need to know about cell phone coverage in 2020.

Infographic designed by CellularStatus

Using Smartphones To Promote Your Business

Three of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money, Business/Entrepreneurship and Technology. In today’s digital world, smartphones and wireless technology have become valuable tools, especially in the area of promoting your business. The following contributed post is entitled, Using Smartphones To Promote Your Business.

* * *

Source (CC0 License)

Smartphones are, well, smart! They have so many different uses that make them highly beneficial in the modern age. Ironically, a lot of people claim smartphones are dangerous as we spend too much time on them, yet this is precisely why they are such a useful tool for businesses.

People use smartphones almost every minute of every day. Therefore, they present some serious advertising possibilities for a savvy business owner. The trick is learning how to use smartphones to promote your business and find lots of new customers. It’s a lot easier than you might expect!

SMS Marketing

Firstly, we can go down one of the more traditional routes. This was one of the first ways in which people used mobile devices for marketing purposes. If you’re wondering, what is SMS marketing, the short explanation is that it uses text messaging to market your business. You gain contact details of leads, then send promotional texts now and then. When done correctly, it can yield a high ROI. The benefit of this is obviously that you can directly get marketing material to your leads. Plus, the fact that you have their contact details means you’re using targeted leads as well. If they gave you this information, they must be interested in what you have to offer, right?

Source (CC0 License)

Mobile Apps

Developing a mobile app is almost seen as a rite of passage for modern businesses. It can be a great way to grow your business and find lots of new customers. There are many ways you can develop a mobile app, and many purposes it might bring. Some companies use apps as an extension of their online store. In effect, consumers download the app and make purchases on it. Others will develop apps that serve as more of a tool for customers. For example, you run a financial services business and create an app that lets people track their expenses. Either way, the benefit of an app is that you are literally in the palm of the hand of your target market. From here, you can use the app to create exclusive promotions. As such, it encourages more people to download the app. Furthermore, using push notifications via the app also allows you to promote new things direct to your audience via their smartphones.

Social Media

That’s right, this counts as using your smartphone to promote your business. Why? Because most social media users are using mobile devices. Plus, you can easily use your phone to compose social media posts on the go. Take pictures or videos using the camera, then upload them to Instagram or Facebook. It’s almost like on-the-go marketing in the sense that you can promote your business wherever you are, whenever you like. Also, encourage your followers to turn notifications on for your posts. As a result, they will always know when you’ve updated your profile, even if they’re not using the social media app at that specific time.

Essentially, you have to appreciate that you’ve got a very powerful device in your hands. All of your customers will use smartphones every single day. It makes sense to take advantage of this by utilizing smartphones as best as you can.

Keeping Your Work Phone Organised

Three of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money, Business/Entrepreneurship and Technology. Whether you are a business owner, or you are in management in a company or a government agency, you likely have a work phone. A key to doing your job using the phone is not over-cluttering it and using up its memory with things you shouldn’t be. The following contributed post is entitled, Keeping Your Work Phone Organised.

* * *

Phones are becoming a big part of the running of a business; they help us with a lot of everyday jobs like keeping notes, updating your calendar, and making phone calls, to name a few. Phones have progressed a long away, that most of the population own one, and we spend most of our time on it, scrolling down social media, attending video calls and sending emails all in which keep you up to date with the latest changes in your workplace.
Over time your phone will be overcrowded with everything you do. You’ll find that you have a build-up of photos, applications and files across multiple areas of your phone, making it hard to keep organized and being easy to find. It’s never a good look when you are trying to find a document, and it’s lost in-between restaurant menus and photos of your dog.

Photo from Pexels.com

Phone pouch

Phone organization starts with being able to find your phone when you need it, rather than fumbling around in the bottom of your bag. Investing in a Reiko pouch will ensure that your phone is on you all the time, leaving your hands free for your laptop and paperwork, stopping your phone falling when you have too much to carry between meetings. This could be an excellent option for if you’re a person that stores your phone in your back pocket as it will decrease the risk of smashing the screen.


Although it’s lovely to have all your apps separate so you can see them all at a glance, it can take time to find the one you’re looking for. Creating different categories for your apps to sit in, simplifies your phone. Having social media platforms in one folder along with a photo and video editing in another takes the pressure off trying to find a specific app that you’re trying to search for. While you’re setting all your apps apart, this is a great time to delete any unwanted icons, as well as the ones you haven’t opened in the last five months.

Files and documents

Keep your documents organized in folders, along with renaming the file name to the category of what the files are to do with. It will be worth taking the time to adjust the titles of each document to make it clear what everything is without having to open each file. Having your laptop desktop empty can leave room for any current files and projects that can be placed onto the desktop to give you the space to spread out.

Back up your files

It’s the worse feeling when you’ve done loads of hard work, and then you lose it. Backing up your files and photos through something like Dropbox, Google docs can avoid frustration and having to reproduce it again. They are easy to use systems that can store everything, making it simple for you to go back and find the documents that you need when the worse comes. If you have Apple products, then you will find iCloud has its backup system for all your documents, music, videos and photos. However, once you reach over a specific limit, you will have to pay monthly for extra storage, this can also be the case with Companies like Dropbox but if you don’t want to pay for storage then investing in an internal hard drive to copy everything over can be a cheaper option. Just be aware that if this system is tampered with, then it can result in losing it, this is why people copy everything over onto two hard drives to cater for this.

Linking calendars

Are you using your calendar to its advantage? Taking the plunge from paper planners to digital calendars can be a big change, but it can save you a heap of time. Firstly, using a platform that can be automatically transferred to each of your devices makes your life a lot easier. There’s nothing worse than having to write a meeting date down in multiple places. Platforms like Apple and Google calendar, link up on all your devices which are logged into the same account. Using your schedule effectively by colour-coding each category makes you instantly see what is work-related, birthdays or events while knowing if you are free when people ask you.

Hopefully, with these ways to stay more organized using your phone, you can take your work to a new level, taking away the stress of losing your work whilst keeping your phone in a pouch, so it’s with you all the time.

3 Tips to Shoot Professional-Looking Videos on Your Smartphone

Three of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money, Business/Entrepreneurship and Technology. In today’s digital age, many forms of business and marketing involve shooting video and posting it online. You don’t always need an extravagant studio to shoot video and sometimes your smartphone will do. The following contributed post is entitled, 3 Tips to Shoot Professional-Looking Videos on Your Smartphone.

* * *

Thankfully, it’s becoming more common knowledge for businesses to realize that video marketing is here to stay. It’s one of the most effective ways to connect with people, build your brand, and give your business an actual voice.

In fact, 51% of marketing professionals believe video marketing is the best for ROI. SO, if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, it’s time to play catchup!

If you have, and you’re not sure why you haven’t experienced as much success with your video marketing efforts, have you considered the kind of video you’re shooting and producing? Are you using quality video SDKs from an app or website to quickly shoot and publish your content?

If the quality of your video isn’t up to par, there’s a good chance people will skip it. That’s especially true as more businesses recognize the importance of video and try to outdo their competition when it comes to quality.

So, what can you do to shoot more professional-looking videos for your business, using a smartphone? The good news is, you don’t have to be a pro videographer to make it happen. Let’s go over some tips that can set you apart from your competitors.


1. Have the Right Lighting

Even if you have the latest and greatest smartphone with the best camera that’s ever been released, your video could still look less-than-professional if your lighting is bad. Professional videographers rely on good lighting to make their videos look sharp, bright, and easy to see.

You don’t have to invest in studio lights or other fancy equipment to get better lighting for your recording. But, always try to shoot in a well-lit area to prevent shadows and graininess that can make it difficult for people to see the detail in your video.

Most phones nowadays have “touch focus,” so you can tap on the area of the camera that’s highlighted to focus on one area. The phone should automatically balance the lighting based on the area you’re focused on.

2. Audio is Just as Important

It’s great if you have a high-quality, sharp-looking video. But, if the audio quality doesn’t match up, people aren’t going to pay attention. Unfortunately, most phone manufacturers haven’t given as much attention to the microphones on their devices as they have to the cameras.

So, what can you do to boost the sound quality of your video?

The best thing you can do is to get an external recording device of some kind. Even an inexpensive microphone that can be plugged into your phone will make a world of difference when it comes to the clarity of the sound. If you can’t afford an external mic or don’t want to get one right now, make sure you always record on your phone in a quiet room with no external noises. Try to avoid recording outside.

3. Never Shoot Vertically

It’s hard to believe that this still needs to be said in 2020, but perhaps the biggest and most important tip to keep in mind is to never shoot your video vertically on your phone. When you record vertically, it makes playback look strange on many other devices. Hold your phone horizontally, and playback on screens everywhere will look just fine.

You don’t need to hire a professional camera crew or be a pro yourself to create better-looking videos on your phone. Keep these simple tips in mind as you boost your video marketing efforts this year.

A Discussion on the Dangers of Cell Phones, Social Media, and Technology with Dr. Ralph G. Perrino

“I have become increasingly alarmed by excessive dependence (some would say addiction) to technology in general, but cell phones in particular. Teens have been known to refer to their iPhone as, ‘My Tiny God.'”

Two of the focuses of my blog are Science and Technology. Up to this point I’ve discussed technology from the aspects of careers and investing. In this post I’m taking a different approach and will discuss its potential dangers in our world which is becoming steadily more digital and technology dependent – a topic I’ve heard periodically discussed in numerous circles over the years.

Joining me in this discussion is mentor, veteran educator and fellow writer, Dr. Ralph G. Perrino. Dr. Perrino has his own blog, Dr. Perrino’s Blog. He has authored numerous articles, essays and books and both founded and directed the Northern Virginia Tutoring Service, which is how we first met. He was further responsible for my becoming a member of the board of directors for the Friends of the David M. Brown Arlington Planetarium.

Here on my blog I crafted a post titled Are we losing our Soft Skills due to Technology? On his blog, Dr. Perrino recently crafted two posts titled, I thought I had seen it all…until today, and Are we creating a digital dust bowl?, among other blog posts. However, it is worth noting that technology is a great help for children. Sites like ABCmouse offer intuitive and entertaining ways to learn beyond the classroom. The following is our recent discussion regarding the dangers facing our steadily increasing technology-dependent society and world.

Anwar Dunbar: Hello, Ralph. You’re one of my mentors and I of course know a lot about you, but can you give the readers a few facts about yourself for context? For example, what is your background? Also, how did you become involved with education?

Ralph Perrino: Sure, Anwar. I studied Sociology at Catawba College in North Carolina. I then did extensive graduate study in Sociology at the University of North Carolina, where my areas of concentration were in collective behavior and social movements, and social change. I also hold a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Doctorate in Education from George Mason University. I have taught full-time and part-time at Northern Virginia Community College as an associate professor of sociology and political science since 1984. I also founded and served as director/owner of Northern Virginia Tutoring Service, LLC, from 1994 until 2018. The reason I became involved in education is that I have always had a passion for teaching. I find that I often teach the content area while at the same time, I offer life lessons to students who are seeking direction in their lives.

AD: One of the focuses of my blog is Technology from the perspective of encouraging awareness of STEM – for careers and for investment purposes. While we celebrate our emerging technologies, there is a downside to them as well, which we’ve both written about from different angles. What initially raised your eyebrow regarding our society-wide ‘addiction’ to our new digital toys and devices and the plethora of applications that we use on them?

RP: While I do absolutely agree that there is a use and a place for technology in today’s world – education and research, investment and banking, professional connectedness and networking are just a few examples – I also believe that society has rushed to embrace the next bright, shiny object with little thought or concern about issues such as: personal privacy, family stability, interpersonal communication, civility in public, and empathy, compassion and concern for others. That said, I do see the potential benefits associated with the use of social media in the areas of collective behavior, social movements, and social change. However, sole reliance on digital means of communication to achieve social change is ill-advised, in my view.

AD: From our mentoring talks I know that you think cell phones particularly are a problem. I’m guilty of some of the things you discussed in your essay about the ‘Digital Dustbowl’, and I do enjoy quick access to information, and quickly connecting with other people which can cause unintended consequences. Can you talk a little bit about what you see happening around you every day?

RP: I have become increasingly alarmed by excessive dependence (some would say addiction) to technology in general, but cell phones in particular. Teens have been known to refer to their iPhone as ‘My Tiny God.’ There is something wrong with a society that values a material, digital possession to that extent. I tell my students at the college that if their biggest concern when they wake up in the morning is whether their cell phone is charged, they have a serious problem. I ask them, have we reached the point where owning a smartphone is a requirement for acceptance into the public (and private) discourse?

I also tell them that they should not leave college without some level of commitment to help others. Much, if not all, of that caring and compassion for others is not going to take place through social media. I remind them that nearly a billion people on earth each day do not have access to clean drinking water and that nearly 30% of the American population does not have regular access to the Internet. Virtually none of my students understand the ‘Digital Divide‘ between rich and poor in America. They take this privilege for granted. I point out to them that they are living in a bubble here in the Washington, D.C. area, and that their awareness of issues and challenges others face has been minimized as a result of their addiction to social media and their smartphone.

AD: Have you found any data looking at our dependence on digital devices like our cell phones?

RP: A recent Bank of America study, Trends in Consumer Mobility, reported that 71% of all Americans (adults and teens) say they sleep with or next to their mobile phone; 3% of those people said they sleep with their device in their hand; 13% said they keep it on the bed, and 55% leave it on the nightstand. Incredibly, the survey revealed that Americans consider their smartphone more important than sex, and 20% of those 18-34 years of age admit to checking their phones DURING sex. The list goes on.

Suffice it to say that we have a problem with over-use and abuse of smart phones. We see it every day in restaurants, supermarkets, shopping malls, sporting events, and a myriad of other places. On the one hand, smart phones and, to some extent, social media, have connected us digitally, yet they have separated us emotionally. They have: strained our relationships with others, significantly reduced levels of empathy towards others, caused us to avoid face-to-face interpersonal contact, and damaged the ability of children and others to read facial gestures, body language, and subtle signs of human emotion. They further have the potential to alienate children from society, placing them in an unrealistic virtual world where problem solving can be accomplished with the press of a button.

Some questions I find myself pondering are:

• Is there a correlation between cell phone usage and the rise in rates of Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome?
• Is there a correlation between cell phone usage and the dramatic rise in school violence, digital alienation, mental health issues, teen suicide rates, and other social maladies?
• Is it affecting the stability of families?
• Is it resulting in miscommunication in the workplace?
• Is it affecting other institutions critical to societal stability?

Again, has it connected us digitally, but separated us emotionally? Much has been said here and elsewhere regarding the problem. The question in my mind is, what are the solutions? We might start with stronger parenting, and adults who model appropriate human interaction as their children are maturing and watching how their parents conduct their own lives. Children learn by modeling adult behavior. Their behavior is a reflection of our behavior.

AD: As an educator yourself, have you had to establish rules for your students in class?

RP: It has reached the point in my classes at the college where I teach that I have to ask my students to place their cell phones on a table at the front of the room at the beginning of the class. If I don’t do this, students simply cannot and will not stop using their phones. Their attention is distracted, and it is nearly impossible to generate a meaningful class discussion. I have had students as recently as last semester note in their course evaluations that, ‘Professor Perrino should continue to require no cell phone use during his class. It helped me to engage in class discussions more effectively.’

AD: Okay Ralph, you’ve given us quite a bit to think about and consider. Do you have any final comments, thoughts or stories on this topic?

RP: Each semester, I have guest speakers come to my class to speak to my students. These speakers include staff from a local homeless and substance abuse shelter; a speaker who works in the area of student nutrition in low-income, urban school districts, and other speakers who focus on sociological issues outside the parameters of a textbook.

The one speaker who rivets my students to their chairs is a 77 year-old woman who was a Freedom Rider in 1961 at the age of nineteen. Her story is compelling. She tells of being jailed in a Mississippi prison for three months with other Freedom Riders, as well as other injustices perpetrated on her and others during that time. When she completes her presentation, I always ask the questions: “Would you be brave enough at nineteen years of age to do what this person did? What story will you have to tell when you are 77 years of age?” The responses I get tell me much about how unengaged my students are from reality, even though they believe they are all connected and engaged through social media outlets.

AD: Okay, thank you, Ralph, for collaborating on this important discussion and sharing your thoughts. So many of us are walking around unaware of the larger implications of these technologies as our societal norms evolve with them. At the very least, hopefully we’ve gotten some of the readers to think and start discussions of their own, and you and I have to have similar discussions in the future.

Thank you for taking the time out to read this interview. Once again, please visit Dr. Perrino’s Blog for other insightful discussions like this. If you enjoyed this interview, you might also enjoy:

A look at STEM: Blockchain Technology, a new way of conducting business and record keeping
Who will have the skills to benefit from Apple’s $350 billion investment?
We should’ve bought Facebook and Bitcoin stock: An investing and technology story
A Cryptocurrency App Case Study
Why SEO really is the key to successful online business SEO
The best Apps for Crypto Investment
Tableau discusses educating in a data driven world revisited

The Big Words LLC Newsletter

For the next phase of my writing journey, I’m starting a monthly newsletter for my writing and video content creation company, the Big Words LLC. In it, I plan to share inspirational words, pieces from this blog and my first blog, and select videos from my four YouTube channels. Finally, I will share updates for my book project The Engineers: A Western New York Basketball Story. Your personal information and privacy will be protected. Click this link and register using the sign-up button at the bottom of the announcement. If there is some issue signing up using the link provided, you can also email me at bwllcnl@gmail.com . Best Regards.