ATTACK OF THE CELL PHONES-PART ??

In last week’s issue, this writer filed a report on how people are getting rid of their “classic” phone lines, only to permanently switch to relying upon cell phones. That’s OK for what that is. However, that switch is become more than just being connected all of the time. It calls for being connected and then some, more to a point where it’s not just for a way of communication. It’s a method of talking all of their time as well as a control over sight, sound, and even mind!
According to a recent survey presented by the children’s advocacy group Common Sense Media, the San Francisco-based organization filed a report on how parents and/or caretakers of those of teenage years (12 through 18) hold dependance toward their smartphones that are used far beyond just sending calls and receiving them.
According to the report, 620 parents and 620 teens were polled on how often they use their cell phone devices in addition to their laptops and/or electronic pads. 59 percent of parents believe their teen kids are addicted to their smartphones and electronic devices, while half of the teens polled agree with this addiction. 27 percent of parents believe they themselves hold this same kind of dependence.
And this method of addiction is causing a form of havoc among family members. One third of the parents as well as their kids stated that they argue about smartphone usages on a daily basis, while 21% of parents and 30% of teens claim they never disagree upon over usage.
And how often are these gadgets are used on a daily basis? 78% of teens and 69% of parents check their phones every hour! When it comes to text messages, 72% of teens and 48% of parents feel they must respond to a text message immediately.
And being online with any device is getting longer time wise. The report notes that those 18 and younger are online an average of nine hours per day. “Tweener” kids, generally those between the ages of eight and fourteen, state they get online six hours daily. And these figures do not take into account their use for legit purposes. i.e. homework assignments.
When it comes to teens drawing their attention to parents when appropriate, their span is getting a whole lot shorter. A little over 3/4 (77%) of parents stated their kids are too distracted with their devices where they don’t take heed to their parents speaking to them in person. On the other side of the coin, 41% of teens state their parents are too busy with their phones, etc., to pay attention to them!
However, the news is not all bad. Despite most respondents stating that their families fight over phone and related gadget usage, some 85% of parents and 89% of teens state that their usage of phones and pads has not harmed their relationship toward one another, with 2/3 of both parents and teens state that cell phone use isn’t allowed when the family gathers for dinners or other related family based “bonding” moments.
This poll taken by Common Sense was conducted in February and March of this year with 1,240 people consisting of kids from 12 through 18, and parents of kids of this age, not necessarily asking the kids of the parents and vice versa, using a margin of error around 4%
From the above facts and figures, it’s not too surprising that electronic gadget usage with a heavy emphasis over smartphone applications is growing dramatically. Anytime one attends a public event or location where one will find people of these ages and places in life, one will see at least five people using their smartphones! Some will be talking, while many (or mostly, from what this writer observes) are hovering over their device, tapping or brushing their fingers on the glass screen surface looking at something or another. It doesn’t really matter where one is when such events takes place. While attending an event at a community church while standing at the courtyard of the church grounds where coffee and donuts are served after each service on Sunday, yours truly witnessed some fourteen people on their phone either speaking to somebody, or gazing over their devices gawking at the screen. A few were even taking pictures of their group. (At least three “selfies” were being conducted as well!) This observation was seen by this writer while casually sipping on a cup of coffee while chomping on a chocolate covered donut. (They did have some of those “bear claws”, but somebody else nabbed them. One hand was on the bear claw while the other was holding on to a smartphone decked out in a hot pink vinyl cover!) And at least five of these cell phone users seen were under the age of fourteen!
So there you have it! This is living proof that smartphone usage will not go away. In fact, it’s just going to get worse! Is this method of use and abuse a sign of warning? Yes and no! However, with any element that is part of the majority, it has to change for the better before it morphs for the worse! Only time and tide will foretell this result. Then again, one can bet there is an app for that!
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NEWS AND REVIEWS
The Eclectic Company Theatre continues its run of Nikolai Gogol’s DIARY OF A MAD MAN featuring Ilia Volok as Arksenty Ivanovich Poprishchin, a low-grade civil servant trapped inside of an insane asylum whose insanity becomes more intense through his desires that keep with his vision of what he believes is real by way of the journals he records inside of his morbid cell.
Through Poprishchin’s personal yet hastily transcribed “diaries”, he tells his episode of falling in love with a woman named Sophie, the daughter of the man whom he once served. The woman Sophie doesn’t share these feelings in any mutual respect and thus, Poprishchin’s own instability intensifies through the writings he renders that ranges from an account of canine conversations to becoming part of Spanish royalty, creating (in his mind) a formal uniform showing himself to his citizen subjects. His madness may be part of his own quest to become an individual. But for now, all he has is his fragmented diaries that speak for and by his personal invisible yet psychological universe.
This tale was first presented in 1835 as a written short story composed by this Russian author, and later adapted for the stage by Eugene Lazarev who also directs this stage program. It adjusts well as a single showcase as performed by Ilia Volok. For his seventy or so minutes he presents his role on the stage, one sees the character he portrays morph into a doomed man trapped inside of his forced quarters; A lost soul that sheds into utter madness, making a point of what he is but far from being real. The show itself begins in a tamer method, then changes into a piece that picks up the pacing yet always keeping on track. Before long, the energy Ilia Volok exhibits off bursts out, never letting itself drop off or as a downward range. One can actually witness this performer break out in beads of sweat as his character Poprishchin become more distorted by the minute.
The setting for this one man performance is relatively straightforward. Knarik Balayan’s costuming consists of a grey colored ragged “suit” that resembles a modern style sweatshirt and matching pants leggings. The backdrop of the stage Volok presents himself is just a raggy as well. These draped rags as viewed represents as to what the insane of the period had to deal with, assuming that they had any sense left inside of their heads!
For a stage presence that runs for a little over an hour’s time, this presentation packs more intense spoken and physical drama than similar stage outings that can last for two or even three acts! Ilia Volok’s performance is extremely robust, having its audience hold the desire for more. It’s not necessarily known of one can even hold out for much longer as Volok does, unless one will really go off the deep end. For a single person showcase, it doesn’t get any better that this!

DIARY OF A MADMAN, presented by The Eclectic Company Theatre and A Perfect World Productions, performs at The Eclectic Company Theatre, 5312 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Valley Village (Los Angeles), until June 19th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. For ticket reservations or for more information, call (818) 508-3003, or via online at http://www.EclecticCompanyTheatre.org
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2016 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

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