Presence is defined as “being, existing, or occurring at this time or now; current.” Many things vie for our attention. In this age, it is difficult for one to be present to the moment. Phones, tablets, and computers distract us with multiple messages in videos, pictures, or direct connections. There are many applications that command our attention. And there is the adrenaline rush to respond to every “urgent” request, either from family, friends, or current page of interest. So many paths of information clamor for our attention. Either through direct will or programmed response, we are attached to the various modes of information at our disposal via Social Media. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, Linkedin, What’sApp, and many other options notify us in seconds if there is any remote association with our network of connections. And we are programmed to respond. The cost of our attention to this multitude of stimulations is varied and the impact can influence our many relationships. We cannot, however, underestimate the value of having a smart device at our disposal; using it to further our personal and professional relationships while controlling the less desirable distractions is our challenge.
When a parent comes home at the end of a day, a child is eager for connection and misses that special undivided attention of mom or dad when Social Media, emails and personal messages call for the parent’s attention. Phones become a symbol of competition to family members as our attention is commandeered by the distraction of these electronic devices. Perhaps you have tried at family dinners to put your silenced phone into a basket and no member is allowed to access their personal device. This might work and yet the choice is controlled by the host member of the gathering. One may not feel the freedom to opt-out of this choice. Or if one has a legitimate reason to keep their phone active in case of an emergency, then that choice must be qualified in not participating in the “group” silence of devices. It becomes a point of justification for not participating in the group silencing of outside notification. However, if as a group we had the option of allowing selective communications of the most imperative importance to come through on our device, then each person would have the confidence that the highest priority of messages would be received. And this conscious selection to be off-call of non-essential communications would unite the group and illustrate a sense of priority to those present in the gathering. Children would feel so special if parents “silenced” their phones voluntarily in a visual way. This is a reality for today’s families.
There is an option that meets both the criteria of opting out of unnecessary notifications and being available for the most urgent messages. Rabbi Yossi Marozov has designed an app that offers such an option. It is called “Present Mode,” which is now available on Android devices (the IPhone version is to follow shortly). www. presentmode.com gives details of how the application works. “Present Mode helps users be more successful by leveraging the power of smartphones to build better relationships and more productivity.” The following article gives an overview of what is possible in this application:
https://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/news/local_news/rabbi- s-presentmode-app-puts-distractions-on-hold/article_2ceed424- b55e-11ea-991a-63a94e74cb9b.html
We can receive important communications while we opt out of superfluous notifications by using “Present Mode.” It visually communicates to our family members that they are our priority, without losing precious information from necessary phone calls. Check it out today! Annette can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.