Effects of cell phones on Argentine society

There are 5 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by Splinter.

  • Are cellphones changing interactions among family members here in Argentina, and not for the better?


    When we first came here in 2005, we were impressed with the easy and natural conversation flow among multi-generational gatherings. In the US, extended-family dinners often turn into occasions where conversations are enjoyed by the parents/grandparents, but merely endured by teenagers who bide their time until they can escape with their peers. By contrast, here all generations seemed to enter enthusiastically into mealtime chat with each other.


    While we are fortunate enough to be included in the regular gatherings of two families who haven’t lost the art of joyful conversation, we are also aware of other family dynamics that we are increasingly seeing. Just one example: We couldn’t help noticing the generational divide in the family seated next to us at a restaurant for Sunday dinner with Abuela. Her two daughters and their husbands talked animatedly with her and with each other, while the younger generation sat in isolation, each staring intently at his/her cell phone, during the whole meal.


    I’m not entirely blaming teenagers for this behavior, as it is a reflection of the world around us. We’ve all seen cell-absorbed pedestrians oblivious to the traffic zooming past them, and I suspect most of us have narrowly escaped collisions caused by texting drivers.


    Does the obsession with mobile phones mark a societal point of no return, or is there a chance the pendulum will swing? If so, will the mere subsiding of the cell phone’s novelty be enough to bring about a return to civility?

  • Can you remember the first cell phones - the ones that looked like bricks?


    They evolved and gradually smart phones are the rage.


    Something will be invented soon that makes the current cell phone habits redundant . Will it be better than now for family interaction?


    Don't have a clue , to be honest . But we were at family gathering at the weekend and cell phones were only being used to take photographs....

  • I love the innovation that smartphones bring - instant chat, maps where you can share your location, superb cameras and host of other stuff.

    What I don't like is the decline in general good manners, where someone will ignore what you're saying and go to their phone instead.

    Using them at mealtimes is probably my biggest gripe and in our house we've had to set a no phone rule at the table.

    Don't get me started...

  • Can you remember the first cell phones - the ones that looked like bricks?

    oh yes. They not only LOOKED like bricks, they weighed several kilos. I remember having to drag one to a music festival in 1999.

    I love the innovation that smartphones bring - instant chat, maps where you can share your location, superb cameras and host of other stuff.

    What I don't like is the decline in general good manners, where someone will ignore what you're saying and go to their phone instead.

    Using them at mealtimes is probably my biggest gripe and in our house we've had to set a no phone rule at the table.

    Don't get me started...

    I love the innovations as well! Don’t get me wrong. What I lament is that loss of manners that you referenced, whether in the form of surreptitious glances at one’s texts while ostensibly conversing with people who are physically present, or full-fledged unabashed reading and responding to people who are clearly more important than those who are right there.


    Last weekend I looked out our back window at a rooftop asado on another building, with half a dozen friends who must have liked each other enough to show up. As they sat around the big square table, all six of them were totally absorbed in their own screens. WTF?

  • I must confess I dig into my cellphone screen after a while when I am at a family gathering with my husband's family.

    I can hold it pretty well in the first 2 hours, but by the third hour I have exhausted any safe and new topic to discuss, and the conversation starts dragging itself and they end up talking about the same old stuff and jokes that weren't funny the first time I heard them, and definitely won't become funny the 40th time.


    Also, I think most of the humor in my husband's family revolves around being stingy, and this just makes me sad.

    It is a lifestyle I do not enjoy, do not promote, and in which I do not see any virtue. It is plain SAD.


    However, in my defense I can say that having my mobile phone at hand allows me to show people interesting thing I saw on the internet or piece of news or pictures of place I went to and that I am describing. Basically, sharing offline. ;)


    In my husband's family the youngsters do not even sit at the table, they just hang on the couch or the bed playing with the playstation, get called to eat, they grab a bite on the go and go back to their couch/bed.

    They are not very well behaved.


    Once we invited the whole family over and my husband half-brother was unable to remain sat at the table with us for the whole meal. Instead, since we had no proper couch but foldable couches like the ones shown below, his half-brother sat there and rolled on the floor with his mobile phone at hand. He was 20 at the time. I was shocked. It was like a 4 year old. His parents didn't even try to contain him, not that day nor any day of the previous 20 years, I may add.

    Maybe I should just be glad he didn't went to our bed, instead.


    poltrona-sofa-cama-individual-D_NQ_NP_112711-MLV20612809907_032016-F.jpg