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Episode 5 - Alexander Bell - Motivational Technology Speaker / Entrepreneur
Episode 52nd May 2023 • Speaker's Corner with Alfie Joey • Alfie Joey
00:00:00 00:30:51

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In Alex's own words

Perhaps due to sharing the same name as the inventor of the telephone, or just a reflection of the world I grew up in during the 80's and 90's, I am obsessed with technology and totally addicted to my mobile phone and I am not alone. You're probably on your phone right now?!

We are all connected, yet we choose to look down at our screens rather than look up and start a conversation. We don't call anymore. We text rather than talk. Human connections have become digital, short lived and not genuine.

We spend more time looking at our phone screens than anything else. This time is rarely spent on anything productive, instead it's filled with looking at the same apps, the same sites, checking again and again for anything new. Our relationship with these devices is unhealthy and it's only getting worse.


Everybody asks if my middle name is 'Graham'? Well, sadly, it isn't. It's Philip. Although my wife said 'Graham' at the altar, but that's a whole different story!

It turns out Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, wasn't born 'Graham' either. He later added it himself, aged 11, when he was jealous of his two older brothers' having middle names. Anyway, I digress.

When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876, the world was a very different place. The only form of communication was either written by hand or spoken face to face. Bell's invention changed everything, allowing conversations, and ultimately data, to be transmitted across the World in almost real time. The telephone gave everyone a voice and enabled the world to say; 'Hello'. In fact, the telephone is attributed to the word 'hello' being widely used. His invention of the telephone paved the way not just for the telephone and eventually the mobile phone, but also the first internet lines and eventually the WiFi networks that connect billions of devices everyday.

I love technology. I had a pager at age 9 and my first mobile, a Philips TCD308 'Diga' with BT Cellnet, aged 10 in 1997. I couldn't afford the Motorola StarTAC. My phone had 8 different ringtones, could store the numbers from the last 10 calls (and that's it) and could send and receive SMS messages (at a cost of 12p per message!)

I was in love!

Fast forward through 3 decades of handsets, from WAP to snake, MP3 ringtones to my first camera phone, right up to the present day Android's and iPhone's (I own both). I am totally addicted and dependent on the screen on my wrist, the one in my pocket and the one by my bed. I am never without a device and I didn't think twice about it until my eldest son, Dexter, asked for his first phone for his 8th birthday.

Dexter is 8 years old. He wants a mobile phone. Some of his friends at school already have one. Some of them even have an iPhone. He is only a couple of years away from becoming one of the 9 out of 10 children who own a smartphone device by the time they are 11 years old here in the UK.

This terrified me.

When he first asked for a mobile phone I reacted strongly, telling him how bad they are, how he is too young to have one, and how they are not healthy.

He responded by asking;

“So why are you on yours all the time?”.

He was right. Why am I on my phone all the time? I hadn’t stopped to think about how my own phone use would influence my children. Or how I might be prioritising endlessly scrolling through my phone rather than giving my attention to my kids, my wife or my friends. I started wondering if my kids, even subconsciously, felt like I cared more about what was on my phone, than them. I was horrified to think that they might feel ignored and unloved due to me checking Facebook, Gmail or BBC News for the 29th time that day.

I started wondering what the impact my phone and tech habits were having on my life. How many hours, days, weeks had I wasted scrolling through feeds, pictures, videos or re-checking the same news apps. How much damage had I done to my relationships, my own kids, my health, my life? How could I prevent my sons from going down the same path? Is it too late? How can I become less addicted, spend less time on my devices, and give that time and attention back to the ones I love more than anything in the world?

That's why I came up with Tech Rules, a system to take back control of my digital life, and I'd love the opportunity to share it with your audiences too!

- Alexander Bell, Motivational Technology Keynote Speaker




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