This is the first in an occasional series, LITO: Lucky I’m Too Old. (Yes, it is written in the dreaded “listicle” format, a list posing as an article, which has been proven to hook readers. I trust it’s working.)
You may have noticed that internet and phone slang relies heavily on acronyms, the most common one being LOL. Which does not mean Lots Of Love, as a few mostly older people still think, but Laugh Out Loud. LOL is said or written with echoes of schadenfreude for it often involves snickering (or sniggering) at another’s misfortune. The way young people may snicker/snigger at you for signing off affectionately with LOL.
So please welcome my newly coined acronym for the aging in the digital age: LITO. Say it with a smile, your shoulders shrugged, your arms out, palms up.
Allow me walk you through a few ways you can use LITO in your daily life.
- You get aches and pains but have never had Text Neck.
This newly described medical condition is caused by endlessly looking down at your phone. It’s a bit of a misnomer because it happens whether you’re typing, searching, emailing or just gawking at your phone’s screen. What Text Neck does to your posture looks a lot like the pictures of older women who fail their bone densitometry tests and are diagnosed with osteoporosis.
As the head tilts forward the forces seen by the neck surges to 60 pounds at 60 degrees… These stresses may lead to early wear, tear, degeneration, and possibly surgeries.
– spine surgeon Kenneth Hansraj, Surgical Technology International
Since I don’t spend hours gazing at my phone with my head tilted dangerously downward, I will never get Text Neck. I prefer my communication Old School: face-to-face or at least voice-to-voice. With my head held high.
I know it’s not the done thing these days to use your phone for talking, but I really hate thumbing messages. I’m a whiz at 10-finger typing on a normal keyboard so why struggle to type on a tiny screen? Anyway, I’m not big on answering email and searching the net while I’m out and about. For me It’s Always Better on the Big Screen. The one at home.
So when anyone mentions Text Neck, your response is: LITO!
- Apps, Schmapps
I’m not convinced that I’d be able to run my life better by installing all the latest apps on my phone. How often have you seen headlines about “an app that could change how you…” There are apps to help you be more productive, less chubby, more spiritual. I have not availed myself of any of these apportunities.
My favourite app that I will never use is RunPee.
RunPee is a wonderful app that lets you know the best time to run to the bathroom during a movie so that you don’t miss a pivotal point in the action. The RunPee tagline says it all: Because movie theaters don’t have pause buttons. The RunPee app will give you a list of 1-to-4 moments in each movie when you can run and pee. We also let you know if there is anything during or after the end credits that you should stick around for.
– from the app’s website, runpee.com
Runpee.com features testimonials from Hollywood stars who happily advise fans which of their lines to miss while they piss.
Now get ready to say it: Runpee? LITO!
3. I’ve got 99 problems but a phone ain’t one (to paraphrase rapper Jay-Z).
A recent study showed that heavy cellphone users have higher anxiety levels and are more dissatisfied. Than who? Than people like us, older people who do not run their entire lives on their phones.
Banish the thought that smart phones reduce stress levels. Whilst they do help people keep on top of their work load, new research has found smart phones are stressful because people get caught up in compulsively checking for new messages, alerts and updates… The study found that stress was associated with the personal use of smart phones but not with work. In particular, a relationship was found between stress and the amount of times the phone was checked, with the most stressed amongst us experiencing ‘phantom’ vibrations when in fact there have been no alerts.
– British Psychological Society journal on research by Richard Balding, University of Worcester, 2012
My New Old Self has never experienced phantom phone vibes. I’m more likely to leave my phone where its ring can’t be heard, forget to check it, and miss calls and messages. I’ve even rung my mislaid phone to find out where it is, and in then wondered who could be phoning me. So I’ve got little risk of PISS – Phone-Induced Stress Syndrome. (Yes, I made that up but I’m sure such a syndrome has been identified. And that there’s an app to combat it.)
By now you know the drill: PISS? LITO!
4. I won’t say No, No, No to Rehab, but if I do ever get there it won’t be for any Digital Addiction.
Hundreds of millions of people worldwide reportedly suffer from Facebook Addiction Disorder. I am pleased to report that I am not among them. I score very low on the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale recently devised by Norwegian psychologists. When my friends and I get together we look at each other – not at our phones.
A 12-step program to get me off Facebook? LITO!
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