You cannot avoid all the fuss about “Phubbing” lately. Phubbing is a term coined by 23-year-old Melbourne University student Alex Haigh, to describe the action of “snubbing” people in real life by using your mobile phone in front of them, rather than engaging with them. What a great word he has coined, it even sounds fun to say. A viral campaign is madly spreading showing just how annoying and rude some people find the use of mobile phones. When you read the web page, it is actually quite humorous and the faux “stats” are very clever (obviously made in jest – consider 92% of repeat Phubbers go on to become Politicians! ).
We are very passionate about bringing respect and etiquette into the main playing field, however when something like this goes viral there can be some accidental fallout and unfortunate consequences so we need to be wary. Although many will see the fun in this, some might just take it a bit too seriously.
On the plus side, Alex is so right in encouraging people to actually communicate face to face, and what I really love is that it is highlighting some really important issues that we need to consider. We have blogged before on the issues of smart phones and teens who seem to prefer to text to talking, but is this just a natural movement? Once people only broke up face to face, then the telephone came and some chose to break up that way – now rather than make the call, they text the message. It’s seems harsh and sad, and correct etiquette would be to speak to the person, but there are times when being face to face could actually put someone in danger and this must also be considered. We live in a complex world of heightened emotions and reactions, magnified by the speed and spread of technology.
In my book Futureproof your kids I discuss the behaviours that we are modelling to our children in our use of phones and other technology, and I advocate putting the phone down and away during meal times and in the supermarket and restaurants. Our children need to learn life skills not just how to use a phone!
In Japan for example, where mobile phone culture (keitai culture) has been an issue for some time, there have long been regulations around use of mobile phones on public transport. Personally I hate it if I get a call on a train because you have to talk out loud, it doesn’t feel very private. On the other hand people sitting beside you can be chatting away very loudly while you are trying to read and we are hardly going to tell them not to talk are we?. However the time on transport is time when one can continue to work, therefore I see no problem with texting a response, or researching information when I’m on the train.
When it comes to Café’s and Restaurants, many of these are actually increasing their patronage because of mobile technology. The benefit of quickly spreading reviews, sharing offers and deals and having their marketing done for them, by their customers through photos and posts of fun times, and great food being shared on instagram and facebook cannot be ignored. I think if people want to take a few photos and share them with friends, there is generally no harm in that, but I also believe the phones should be put away after the initial “checking in” phase and if a call needs to be taken, then get up and move away from the table. We must also be aware that most people don’t carry a separate camera now, they have their phone, so they take and share a photo of a birthday celebration and send it immediately to share with other loved ones who are not present and there is no harm it that. The harm is when we actually stop engaging with one another and the table falls quiet with only the soft sounds of keys being pressed takes over.
The concern I have for this particular issue going a bit pear shaped, is where the campaign goes on a quest to “name and shame” phubbers, with a place to upload photos. The site itself appears to only have a few photos (I did not test it to see if I could upload) which says to me they are put there for fun and to provoke thought. Some really do make your eyes pop however. Kissing and texting at the same time.. now that is really disrespectful – how disengaged from the moment – that is quite tragic.
There is a possibility however, that some may really take this to town and end up humiliating or bullying people using phones. The campaign says SHAME A PHUBBER… it goes on to say, don’t hold back, “be brutal”. Even if the site itself is not posting images, others might start shaming on various platforms around the world. In an environment where we are fighting so hard against bullying, this appears to be an incongruity. We must temper this with not making generalisations about why someone might be texting or on their phone at a particular moment. For example, sharing a photo of a newborn with grandparents who live far away, calling at a restaurant because you have just been proposed to – there are always reasons and many of them are things of joy which are also part of life and we should celebrate.
There are also those who for many reasons have difficulty in engaging face to face, but for whom texting has opened a world which was previously unknown to them. These are all important reasons for us to take care with the spread of this clever campaign. Three cheers for raising awareness but hold back with the name and shaming – let’s not let it get out of hand.
Here is the link to the Stopphubbing site. Enjoy the read. Come back and share your opinions!
There are some great articles hitting the web around Phubbing. Here are a few worth a read:
Learn more about Fiona here.
There is so much information online for parents these days it is hard to know where to turn, it can be pretty confusing, and time consuming trying to cover it all. So many ebooks and articles and blogs on safety and apps and etiquette (we here at iRespectOnline have written many of them!).
Last year (2012), after seeing the career aspirations of one young teen smashed due to inappropriate photographs being posted online and found by a prospective employer, I knew I had to write a book to really EMPOWER parents with knowledge and to help them to understand the importance of guiding their children from the earliest ages possible. It took me just over a year to write as my father had a stroke just before I was due to finish it, but I am so pleased that it is now available and is being very well received.
Futureproof your Kids© encompasses my passion for not only educating parents in understanding the online world but of empowering our children to be the SUPERKIDS of the future online. Children who grow up respecting integrity and high values.
I never set out to write “another” guide book on privacy settings and the like as social media platforms change so often. Through collaborative efforts, I already have wonderful series of helpful tip sheets produced with my lovely colleague Mel Rom at Social Ediquette™ in Perth, WA. (We update these often to keep them on track with the latest changes).
Instead I have a produced a book from the heart, designed to help readers to really think and consider what our online interactions mean for ourselves and others, both now and in the future. The book is designed to assist parents with the issues they are really struggling with – where to begin, how to help their children, and to understand the benefits as well as be aware of safety and issues such as cyberbullying. Beyond that, this book introduces my 4 Step Reputation Framework© which I am so excited about.
This framework encompasses a set of ethics and values which our children can use throughout their lives. Introducing the values via 4 cute characters (created by my amazing illustrator Deb Parker) we meet Ruby Respect, Robert Responsibility, Rosie Resilience and Ronnie Research. These characters form an integral part of the content of my education workshops for parents and schools.
Further “superkid” superhero characters are introduced as we progress through the workshops. The values are valuable for adults to embrace also, as it is from parents and other adults that our children tend to model their early behaviours on. We need to keep checking our own “reflection” in the social media mirror!
IT IS NEVER TOO EARLY OR TOO LATE TO START LEARNING ABOUT THE ONLINE ENVIRONMENT. Whether your child is under 2 or 16 we should not allow a digital divide to develop between our children and ourselves when it comes to understanding the online environment. You need to be there, to help guide your children through the social media “playground” . Grandparents, Aunty’s, Uncle’s and neighbours too, should all understand the environment so you can work together to create a consistent approach to the use of social media where your children are concerned.
It’s not just parents and children who can benefit from my framework, I also have a “grown up” workshop version of the 4R’s Reputation Framework© for businesses who wish to embrace a more ethical, transparent and connected approach to the way they engage online with their clients, customers and prospects.
I look forward to sharing future posts with you that explore the contents of the book and perhaps engaging with you at a workshop at your school or community group soon!
Futureproof your kids© is currently available to Australian parents in paperback form from our website and at www.futureproofyourkids.com. Kindle/electronic formats of the book are currently under development and will be available globally in the near future. We encourage purchasing the hard copy so it can be shared around your family and always nearby for reference :-).
Enquiries for international and/or bulk orders should be made directly to the author via the contact form:
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Your social media mirror. Have you checked your reflection lately?
After seeing just some of Miley Cyrus’ new video clip I have to wonder what happens to these girls? They must get bullied and pressured for having played a sweet character, or their hearts broken so that they feel they have to show the world (or someone) something. Sadly what they don’t show is any maturity – just a discovery of the use of their body parts to sell. The sad thing is that Miley’s following came from the thousands of little ones who adored her role in Hannah Montana. These little fans helped to “make her” – but then she has turned away with a vengeance.
Why isn’t it ok to be a “nice girl” anymore? The video is a “look at me I can do sex” clip – and I just wonder how she will feel in a few years time when she looks back at it, particularly if she becomes a Mum herself. Why is it necessary to create this “porno style” of clip? Writhing with her backside in the air, demonstrating that she has recently visited her waxer by pulling down the front of her pants and having smoke coming out of places that – well maybe you might find down the alleys in Thailand along with the pingpong balls and sparrows. Seriously I find it tragic because there appears to be a lack of self respect, it is all ego and gloss and so trashy. The girl can sing, but there really are no clean lyrics (as in everything has been digitalised and toyed with). If it’s a coming of age song where she has discovered the lustier part of life, is there any reason for the kind of writhing she does? In some way maybe she is actually taking the Pi** out of these kinds of clips as it is so over the top, but for some reason I don’t really believe that!
As parents we know how much our kids love music, they love dancing and they love to copy moves – but would anyone really be comfortable seeing a group of 8 year olds writhing on the ground and copying these poses? They might not understand right now what it means, but it concerns me that this is how our young people grow up so hung up on how they look.
I’m not a prude, I just don’t see the need for this stuff in every damn clip that comes out. It’s like all these girls with beautiful voices have to outdo each other in the “lets show grandma what good time girls we are” poses. The use of visuals depicting S&M and the kinkier side of life – well that’s fine for adults who know how to deal with it, but young children are being sexualised by these images and I don’t think we are doing our society any favours. (Sexualisation can be defined as: The imposition of adult sexuality on to children and young people before they are capable of dealing with it, mentally, emotionally or physically*). Do we really want to be encouraging our under 10′ and 12’s to be so sexually aware? Childhood is a time of innocence – or so it should be – a time when we are truly free of prejudice and other “stuff” that comes with growing up. There is no need to rush the process surely?
People will say “sex sells”.. but I’d like to think that she could be sexy and sing without looking like a porn star. I’m wondering what’s happening to that industry when more and more of it is becoming mainstream – actually I don’t really want to wonder too much at all!
I really don’t care what you want to look at, but we know that gyms, and doctor studios, waiting rooms and stores play current videos all the time and children are going to see these kinds of film clip, children who haven’t get identified themselves or understood enough about themselves to start comparing and copying these clips. The whole “twerking” which is jerking and jiggling your butt is not done in a fun way – it’s very sexual, and on her facebook site she encourages fans to post vidoes of themselves “twerking”, and in the song, and comments on the site if someone objects to, or doesn’t like the song they are called “haters”. It really makes me sad.
The song is some kind of rebellous ‘we can do what we want” song but it’s hardly original lyrically. Sure you can do what you want (hopefully keeping it legal) – but do you have to do it in front of everyone? Apparently what “we want” is to tongue kiss dolls and rub each others butts whilst having some kind of stimulated orgy?
I despair when I hear of stories of birthday party themes for early teens that rather than be a pyjama party are now “slut parties”! Worse still, stories of children aged 7 & 8 talking about having sex? Dr Joe Tucci from the Australian Childhood foundation was recently quoted as saying “A decade ago we were referred kids as young as seven involved in pulling down pants, now it is penetrative acts, simulated or actual sexual acts and it starts at seven and eight”. You can read the article here.
Where is the integrity in this? What are these “role models” creating in our future generations? Many might say they “are not role models”, but when you are in the public arena, needing that adoring public to be the creators of your income, then I think there is a responsibility that must go with that.
I’d really love to know what you think? Particularly if you have children under 10. If you (or your kids) are adoring Miley fan’s – do you just blindly accept what she does and love it, or do you kind of wonder where she is going with this and why? It’s not knew, Madonna was doing some pretty sexy stuff in the 80’s but we didn’t have pocket access to videos and were lucky if were were playing “pong” on our computers. I think most movie clips were heavily censored before 9pm if they were played at all. Are kids seeing more than they are ready for, has the quality gone down and the “detail” gone up in these clips?
What is your view?
*as defined in a 2010 UK study into the sexualisation of children.
As passionate as I am about raising awareness for change in the way we engage online, I had an interesting “comment debate”* on someone’s wall about taking action in the area of online safety and cyberbullying. As someone who is proactive about change and commited to bringing respect, ethics and higher values into the online environment, I was quite interested in their view that my business, my blogs, workshops and my book did not constitute action in this person’s eyes. They spoke about joining organisations to volunteer time on help lines etc as being action.
It is so vital that we do man help lines in order to address the suffering of others, and I certainly hope that the information I share and the openness of my blog and facebook pages offers value for those seeking help, along with the events and organisations that I volunteer time to. In my opinion, my positive action looks beyond helping only those who are already suffering, to include preventing it from happening to others. Therefore I truly feel that educating others, and changing mindsets is very much an action. Would you agree?
The debate however had me thinking about ways of trying to bring positivity into the space. I really hate having to have negative conversations where it feels very ‘doom and gloom’ due to the important issues of safety, because I also feel the online environment can have such a positive effect and be used in ways which are beneficial to others. Some of these benefits include the availability of information, creation of supportive community, help and support during disasters, bringing together those with shared interests, bringing education within the reach of everyone, helping isolated communities to feel more connected, assisting those with disabilities who might otherwise not engage, encouraging us to share our hopes, dream and achievements with others as a way of inspiring those around us – the list goes on. We just don’t highlight the wins enough, but we sure amplify the darker side when it happens.
Some people say to me “I don’t want to share what I had for lunch, or know what you did”, “I dont need people to know where I’ve been or what I did”.. and sure maybe you don’t, but if we go back in time, when communication wasn’t so broad, everyone in the village knew what you had for lunch, what you did, where you had been…. so to me, we have just tried to bring some of the village back, because we have all been wandering around our big lonely cities for quite some time. Just as some wanted to escape the village back in the day, we have those who want to escape back to a time when each of us had more interest in the other, because there simply was a lot less to occupy our minds. With so much now filling our heads, a bit of harmless, no-brainer, “I don’t have to analyse this” posting is quite welcome in my world! Ok some things should stay private – I don’t need to know when you shower or go to the loo (or what you look like in either of those situations) – but if you really want to share that, I would probably ask you why, but then limit the feed. After all it’s your wall, not mine and you can share what you like as long as you take responsibility for it. If you eat out somewhere nice, I am interested – I love eating out and I don’t mind the pics of your food. If you post graphic images of particular causes, that is up to you, but be sensitive to the ages of those you transact online with. Respect our youth’s right to grow up without fear in their faces every minute. Just own what you post. Seriously if you don’t like it, don’t judge it, just adjust your settings if it really bugs you. If its illegal or inappropriate, report the page or post – that’s what I do.
What about though, rather than getting up in arms about people posting pics of the cat, or their outfit, that we choose to view our online experiences with the glass half full? Embrace the simple joy and pleasure that someone is getting from sharing their new hairdo, the new garden spade or their boutique beer. Rather than be annoyed, breathe in the simplicity of their joy and happiness. You don’t have to rush out and get a spade, but hey, if you ever need one you now know which friend can help you!
Naturally there are certain pictures which shouldnt be shared – the ones your grandma would blush at – keep them private. However if you do post about your more intimate thoughts or the melt down you had – recognise that you are reaching out to your community, but also recognise that you must take responsibility for that post – and if you don’t get the response you wanted, either take it down, or learn from it. If its too personal, don’t post it – try picking up the phone and talking things over with a close friend. In the end it is your wall. Try and be understanding, don’t knock the guy who posts pictures of his new mag wheels when you have just finished posting 300 pictures of baby eating yoghurt – one is his baby the other is yours!
If you only use your social media for business, then stop and realise that platforms like facebook and blogging itself have grown as social networks and blogging is about sharing opinion, thoughts and events of the day – hundreds and thousands of global diaries being updated every minute. Logically not all content will resonnate with our own values and opinions, but if you let it wash over you, you might just find that you are learning new things. We need to keep the social in social media or we go back to square one, and I think many in the world are over the bombardment of advertising everywhere they go.
This post was inspired because I was seeking interaction on how to bring positives, love and fun into the space, to counteract some of the negativity. I was shocked to find that some people, particularly young people, just don’t know how to give a compliment or praise someone. It’s not, to coin a phrase “wanky” to tell others positive things – it’s just simply nice!
So how can we take simple postive action? Well how about joining up with our new global event? Until the end of June we challenge you to join us and to post a positive comment on someones wall, then share the comment (without the persons name) so that others can see the types of things that people appreciate in others. #LET’SSMILEONLINE is a really simple way to spread a little love. I think our kids would be more resilient and able to cope with the odd nasty comment from a bully when (1) they can recognise that the issue is with the person posting, not them (2) they see positives to counteract the negatives. It’s not rocket science, it’s not even science, it’s just something I would love your support in trying. Let’s all be online superheroes. If you see something negative, just remove it, or let us know if it’s on our event and we will remove it. No need to engage because who wants to waste energy on negativity anyway?
*comment debate: my term for a lengthy thread on facebook
*illustrations from Futureproof your Kids