Sunday, March 11, 2012

Zombie Nation

Next time you are at a restaurant or in class, take a quick look around the room. You'd probably be surprised to see how many people are sneaking a quick look at a text message they just received, or how many are completely involved with their phones ignoring all physical interactions with others. With the digital age in full swing this type of behaviour has become acceptable to most people, who can be caught fixated on their small glowing screens as if in a trance. Yet there are some who find this excessive cellphone usage rude and unacceptable. In addition studies are constantly being completed to determine long term physical and mental health risks of excessive cellphone use.
It should come as no surprise that some restaurants are now finding ways to voice their opinions of cellphone usage at the table by posting signs or even policies on their websites to discourage customers from checking text messages or managing your Facebook account while eating. Many chefs also believe that dinner time is a very important time when one should slow down and enjoy the full experience of the meal. Some chefs disagree and believe there is always time for checking your phone, as noted in an editorial published September 5th, 2011 by Toronto star author Isabel Teotonio. The article mentions two Toronto based chefs who promote cellphones at their restaurants.
Jason Bangerter executive chef for the Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants at TIFF Bell Lightbox: Luma and the O&B Canteen keeps his Iphone along side his cooking utensils and always makes time to interact with guests via Facebook and Twitter. Bangerter and his team ensure their guest an upscale experience that satisfies even the most tech savvy diner
Aldo Lanzillotta, owner of WVRST sausage hall in downtown Toronto, also encourages visitors to update their status while they enjoy a bite to eat. Even noting that this form of advertising has helped to increase sales for the business. In fact many establishments are finding ways to join in with users. Attempting to make their overall restaurant experience more enjoyable as they seek to make their locations more acceptable places for cellphones. Some even place small plates or dishes in the dining area to keep your device safe from spills. According to a January 26, 2012 editorial by Los Angeles Times author Jessica Gelt some restaurants are even keeping a selection of phone chargers on hand for diners to ensure that every digital craving is satisfied.
Some restaurant-goers have started a new trend called The Phone Stack, a game to help deter cellphone use while at the dinner table. Each person at the table must either put their phone face down on the table or in a stack with the object being that whom ever touches their phone first must cover the bill at the end of the meal. Meanwhile others simply refuse to pocket their phones and continue to text, surf the web, and polish off a few levels of Angry Birds all before the appetizers are served
A study complied in Gothenburg, Sweden authored by Gaby Badre, MD, PhD, of Sahlgren's Academy has noted that excessive cellphone use can affect sleeping patterns in teens age 14-20. The teens all kept regular work and study hours and had no sleeping problems. Two groups were created, one group was only allowed to make five text and calls per day, while the other was able to make more than fifteen calls or texts per day. Upon completion it was noted that the group that made fifteen plus calls or texts per day showed an increase in sleep deprivation and restlessness. Where as the group making few interactions with their phones reported no change in sleep behaviour. The study also notes that excessive or compulsive phone usage could also be attributed to pressures and desires to remain constantly connected with peers. Although this information is aimed towards teens it is quite possible that anyone who over indulges could also be at risk as well. An additional study of the damage to eyes caused from cellphone use complied byprofessor Ved Vyas Dwivedi, head of department of ECE at CHARUSAT, Dean of the faculty of engineering and technology Y P Kosta, and lecturer Dhara Patel. The results had shown that the eyes absorb heat transmitted from cellphone screens and are able to effectively collect the information. However it was noted that the eyes are unable to transmit or radiate the heat created from the body. This constant intake of heat could eventually lead to early cataract in lens as well as potentially damaging the retina, cornea and other ocular systems of the eye.
In our modern society its estimated 70% of Canadians own cellphones between the ages of 16 and 60 and the rate is increasing daily. With more and more people turning to hand held devices that can complete multiple functions on demand its easy to understand why many businesses are choosing to embrace cellphones as a form of promotion and free advertisement. Customers are able to instantly update information about their experience which helps to promote the establishment, but will also assist the owners to gear their services and overall experience to suit every customer in the best possible way

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