By many accounts, the smart phone is one of the greatest inventions of the last one hundred years. It’s a portable “my world” in which you can connect to the things that matter in your life: people, maps, information. The smart phone is your parallel universe you can access whenever you’re bored with the banalities of your existence. In this sense it’s a remedy to the ailment of being stuck in a place you don’t want to be, like a college classroom for instance.
This need and compulsion to access your smart phone because you’re bored with your immediate surroundings points to the dark side of the smart phone: It’s an addiction, a compulsion, a behavior that you may or may not know is a form of disrespect to your instructor and the other students.
Part of the addiction arises from your monthly payment, which you believes entitles you to access your phone whenever you want: “I pay a thousand dollars a year for my phone subscription and I’ll be damned if a professor or anyone else is going to tell me when I use or don’t use my phone.”
You believe you have the right to text, check emails, web-surf, even take calls, running out of the classroom when you deem you have an important conversation. You disappear for twenty minutes, return to the class, then start talking to your neighbor, trying to get caught up in the material. Sometimes you get out your homework from another class and conspicuously work on your problems until you get another call, prompting you to leave the classroom again. All of this obnoxious behavior stems from your delusion of unlimited entitlement.
The truth is I don’t give a rat’s adenoidal gland about your sense of entitlement. Disrespecting others by using your smart phone at inappropriate times is your narcissism, which you’re imposing on the rest of us.
To be blunt, you’ve become a malignancy to the classroom. You’ve warred against me, engaging in a battle: You want to bring your portable “my world” into my environment and I want to bring my instruction into yours.
If you access your portable “my world” during class time, I will insist that you leave and give you a warning. The second time it happens I'll take off 25 points. The third time it happens 50 points. The fourth time I'll drop you.
I’m sad to say this is a rather hostile, bellicose talk about the smart phone. It’s not a talk I wanted to have, but the problem is severe and requires a severe response.