When with others I like to be device-free. Knowing I have no control over the connectivity of others, I am inevitably presented with someone’s phone in my face as people I am with want to show me a photo or something on Facebook (which I deliberately took myself off of), this repels me but I don’t want to be rude or self-righteous, it makes me not want to be around friends/loved ones, it also depresses me, I am seeking strategies to deal with this.

A. Unfortunately, this has become the norm. Device use is ubiquitous. People seem to have a difficult time putting them down. Many people even use them while they are driving, creating deadly hazards. One recent study indicated that people swipe or tap their phone more than 2,600 times a day. Researchers believe that it is causing serious problems with attention, social interaction and personal development.

This is not an easily correctable problem. It something that researchers have been observing for years and the problem has only worsened.

You have limited options. As you noted, you can’t control other people. No matter how upset you get it’s not going to change their behavior. You shouldn’t worry about things you can’t change. It’s a waste of your time and energy to worry about things you have no power to control.

I see your options as the following: You can ask that they not use their devices in your presence and they may comply. Many people will respond positively if you ask politely. If they’re not willing to put down their devices, then make a mental note and avoid them in the future. Limit the time you spend with people who are the worst offenders.

Beyond this, accept the fact that this is how some people operate and limit your interaction with them. Perhaps, eventually, things will change but for now, it seems as though device use is here to stay.

I’m sorry that I don’t have a more satisfactory answer for you. I hope this helps, at least in some small way. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle