Thursday, March 15

Online Survey says....

A U.S. soldier shot and killed 16 civilians in Afghanistan, GOP candidates are vying for the presidential bid and what are most people doing with their time? Playing solitaire and doing crossword puzzles on their phones.

I performed a wholly unscientific survey to determine what the heck people do with themselves all day. I sent the survey to many people, some of whom I know intimately so I was able to substantiate their answers. The survey was decidedly inaccurate because 99 percent of all responders lied. Or, perhaps they were challenged to tell the cold hard truth. Who wants to admit they play on their phone and text all day long?

Most people will tell you they are extremely busy and gesture toward a mobile phone or computer as defending evidence. But what's really behind all that tap, tap, tapping on the keyboard? Ninety two percent of all surveyed admitted to either playing solitaire on their phone and/or checking Facebook every day for a minimum of 30 minutes. Some who were more honest admitted to 60 minutes per day and included Sudoku and Chopper2 in their list of preferred phone games.

Only 3 percent of all parents said "yes" when asked, "Have you ever been late to pick up your child because you were on your phone or computer playing a game or on Facebook?" However, the children waiting to be picked up had a different answer. Contrary to the parent percentages, 60 percent of all children said "yes" or "guaranteed" or "no doubt" when asked, "Have your parents ever been late to pick you up because they were on Facebook or playing a game on the phone or computer?"

In the same survey, I asked those with mobile phones if they had ever sent or received a "sext" message (a text message that includes sexually explicit information). A whopping 72 percent of the parent group (the same people who supposedly aren't late to pick up their kids) have either sent or received a "sext" message. Perhaps the parents were telling the truth and it isn't games or Facebook but something else that's making them late?

Many surveyed said that they had phones but didn't know how to find the games much less how to play them. I think those people are telling the truth.

Those surveyed that had a mobile phone and understood how to use it, all admitted to talking on their home phone while simultaneously texting on their mobile phone.

Is the ease and accessibility proffered by mobile phones and laptops increasing our productivity or distracting our focus? Are the games a positive brain flex or a senseless waste of time? Solitaire and crossword puzzles, the two most popular phone games in this survey, have been around for decades. What's new however is the idea that a person can play solitaire for 45 seconds at a stop light. It's now possible to exploit what would otherwise have been "dead" time with light mental fare. Or perhaps we're all having too many mental game snacks and it's only a matter of time before our brains are as mushy as our bodies.

And what about those who aren't on Twitter, Facebook or Words with Friends? What are they doing all day?

In one response, Harriette Will said, "I do not play games on the computer nor do I go on Twitter or Facebook. And I do not text. So there you have it. I am a dinosaur, but I have lots of time to play tennis, walk outside when the weather is pretty, read, write letters or e-mails to keep in touch with distant friends, and do the New York Times crossword every day except Monday and Tuesday (they are too easy). I also take time to actually talk to people face to face and listen to what they are saying."

I can't help but point out that she could use the mobile app and do the New York Times crossword puzzle on her phone.

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