Is Your BlackBerry Ruining Your Family?

By

boy-on-phone-girl-upset

I told myself that it would never happen to me, but it did. I was sitting with my wife and daughter at an Indian restaurant on the East Side of Providence. In the midst of a family discussion I felt a familiar buzz of my Blackberry at my hip, and noticed I had a new email. No harm in checking I reasoned. As my wife and daughter continued to chat, I saw that the email had come from an editor who had interviewed me for an upcoming article in Woman’s Health. “One quick question,” she wrote. Recognizing the journalist’s looming deadline, my thumbs moved over the tiny keyboard as I typed in a two-sentence response to her question. As I prepared to push “Send” I looked up and saw my wife and daughter staring at me. “What?” I snapped back defensively, “This is important!” I sent off my message, and, as I slid my device back into my holster, I attempted to explain further; but, really, there was nothing more I could say.

As my voice trailed off, my family simply shook their heads in disbelief. I can’t recall the exact words my wife responded with, but it was along the lines of: “After that stunt, your existence on this planet cannot be justified.” I allowed my mobile phone to intrude into a very special time with my daughter and wife, and I was caught BlackBerry-handed. I know from my work as a researcher and psychiatrist that I’m not the first person this has ever happened to. Cell phones have changed the way we relate to each other. I still recall the first time I saw somebody answering a cell phone at a restaurant. My wife and I both agreed that such behavior was inappropriate and inexcusable. Yet now, whether you're waiting in a doctor's office, walking in a train station, or sitting at a restaurant, scenes of people talking on their phones are commonplace. Almost nobody notices anymore.

I'll admit, after our first experience of shock and indignation, both my wife and I have been known to engage in brief cell phone conversations while awaiting appetizers from T.G.I. Friday’s. But cellular devices are no longer just a place to carry on a conversation, a sort of phone booth that you can carry by your side. Smart phones have opened up world far beyond Ma Bell’s vision of "reach out and touch someone." They have permitted regular and immediate access to e-mails, text messages, and the entire world wide web, all within easy reach of your fingertips. This can be helpful, to be sure, when you want to see if the weather this weekend will spoil your family plans for a picnic, or to find out the time of the next showing of "Toy Story 3". But too often having access to an entire digital community does not foster closer family ties. As my experience at the Indian restaurant shows, sometimes people can do some pretty dumb things when they have a smart phone.

Article contributed by

Scott Haltzman

Psychiatrist/MD

Scott Haltzman, MD Psychiatrist and Author: "The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity"  "The Secrets of Happily Married Men,""The Secrets of Happily Married Women," and "The Secrets of Happy Families." www.DrScott.com

Location: Naples, FL
Credentials: MD
Other Articles/News by Scott Haltzman:

Recovering After An Affair: Tips For A Meaningful Apology

By

According to Arnold Schwarzenegger's autobiography, Total Recall, after he committed adultery with his housekeeper, he denied to his wife Maria Shriver that the child was his — because he "didn't know" he was the father. Having both lied and cheated, there's little room for doubt that Arnold had wronged his wife.  When, ... Read more

Friend Or More? The Affair You Don't Realize You're Having

By

In a previous blog post, I explained that the best way to avoid having an affair is to be wary of people who don't care about the happiness of your marriage. Many people worry that the only solution to this problem is to avoid anyone of the opposite sex — but that's simply not true! Think about it: If you were to follow this advice to the ... Read more

5 Unexpected Emotions You Will Feel After Discovering An Affair

By

If you're lucky, you'll never have to know what it's like to be the victim of infidelity. Still, the statistics aren't promising: About 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an affair at some point in their marriages. If you've been the victim of an affair, you know that it hits like a punch to the gut. The many emotions that ... Read more

See More

PARTNER POSTS
Latest Expert Videos
Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

Most Popular