2 January 2019
By Mary Bermingham
The overuse of smart phones is harming our world famous hospitality culture, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Cork Senator Tim Lombard, member of the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, said: “The rise of smartphones is adversely affecting how people communicate and converse with each other.
“I have seen through my work on the Oireachtas Committee on Communications that the harmful effects smartphones and the internet can have on children, but let us remember that it can adversely affect adults too and indeed our social surroundings – be they the local pub, restaurant or community centre.
“There is mounting evidence that smart phones can adversely affect the quality of social interactions and well-being.
“According to a World Health Organisation report, spending too much time online and using modern electronic devices may cause social withdrawal and hinder social skill development.
“One of my favourite pubs in Cork, the Anchor bar in Courtmacsharry, has banned the use of smart phones. This has the positive effect of getting people to interact with one another directly.
“The Irish hospitality culture is fuelled by engaging conversation in our pubs and restaurants. We are known worldwide for being very sociable, being able to talk to the wall, and having the craic.
“I think such initiatives have to be encouraged and supported. We need to seriously think about how technology harmfully affects our social lives.
“In my home parish of Tracton, there are five pubs but none have mobile phone coverage. While admittedly this is a hindrance for daily business in a rural area, there is a positive effect too. With no mobile phones ringing or whatsapp messages buzzing, when it comes to the art of conversation and talking to each other, we have the best possible place for it.
“I also hope to raise this issue in the Communications Committee in the coming weeks,” the Fine Gael Senator said.