Right now you probably have the ability FaceTime, Skype, talk, text, IM, email, Facebook, twitter and Instagram your friends and family. As a society we've never been more connected. But one happiness expert has suggested it is these same social connections that are making us feel so isolated and unhappy.
Professor Paul Dolan, of the London School of Economics, believes that the rise in popularity of smartphones has seen people constantly having their attention drawn away from the important connections made with their nearest and dearest, to the insignificant connections on their mobile devices instead.
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"When you switch tasks it requires attention," Prof Dolan told The Telegraph. "Paying attention to what you're doing and who you are with and turning your phone off and enjoying being with your friends is much better for you than constantly checking your phone and checking emails."
Prof Dolan also warned that the consequences are much more dire than just insulting your dinner guests. Speaking at the Hay Festival in Colombia, Dolan made reference to the growing occurrence of conditions such as internet addiction and Phantom Vibration Syndrome (PVS), where a person is so preoccupied with getting a text or call that they imagine their phone vibrating in their handbag or pocket even when it's not (yes, apparently that's a real thing).
Prof Dolan believes the solution could lie in introducing small changes to the environment in which people use their mobile phones. He said it was easier to "change the environment you were in rather than the person you are".
The good doctor also suggested a game called "Don't Be A Di*k During Meals With Friends".
1) The game starts after everyone has ordered
2) Everybody places their phone on the table face down
3) The first person to flip over their phone loses the game
4) Loser of the game pays for the bill
5) If the bill comes before anyone has flipped over their phone everybody is declared a winner and pays for their own meal