Does Your Mobile Device Cause the Flu?

Respect Well-being


Key Point: Our cell phones and iPads are likely disgusting. The germs feasting on it are like all of Africa’s wildlife visiting the water hole at sun down. Germs are everywhere of course, and well beyond mobile devices. The data suggests that 80 percent of influenza-type sickness can be stamped out through more intentional hand washing. Research shows that only 34 percent of people wash their hands after sneezing. On average, we touch our faces about 16 times an hour. The hand washing research on the behavior of healthcare workers is also alarming. So the Government of Alberta has initiated an awareness campaign that also includes instruction on how to wash our hands properly. Workplaces throughout Alberta have decals like the one below in bathrooms, offices, etc. You might think that our mothers would have taught us better, but apparently we need a refresher


However, the “mobile device hygiene” that I think is even more lacking, revolves around how we use them in the presence of others. The abuse of wireless technology regarding face-to-face communications may be causing an epidemic of the “cellfie flu.” It seems like we may need an awareness campaign and courtesy instructions to minimize the sick, even nauseous, feeling that we often get: We ‘re not really important, playing second fiddle to the mobile device in the hands of others.

I’m a big technology user and I think our mobile communication culture is unbelievably wonderful. But I’m a “cellfie flu” carrier too, so in part, I’m writing this blog to myself 🙂 Maybe decals like the one above need to be developed and placed at Starbucks and other cafes around the world. Would the instructions on the decal include the following?

Character Moves: “How to use your mobile device when you are with others.”

  1. Switch your device on silent and put your ears on. Put the mobile device away. Have the decency and courtesy to look the person(s) you are with directly in the eye to show you’re present to fully engage with them. The connection is with THEM, not the wireless network.
  2. Have the strength and courage to be present. When you hear the mobile device “chirping” in the background, ignore it until you have thoughtfully concluded your time with other(s).
  3. If you need the mobile device during your personal connection (you might have an emergency, you want to look something up, etc.), kindly request permission from the person(s) you’re with.
  4. Do not text when you can talk! If you text someone sitting across from you, you will be struck by the pox and spontaneously combust.

Mobile “cleanliness” in The Triangle,