Wi­dener pro­fes­sor tack­les cell­phone ob­ses­sion in film

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Kevin Tustin ktustin@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Kev­inTustin on Twit­ter More in­for­ma­tion can be found at www.cel­lu­larafter­shocks.com.

Cell­phones have evolved from big and heavy to small and por­ta­ble, bring­ing along fea­tures that have made them a life­line for ev­ery­thing from check­ing email to shop­ping.

Our de­pen­dence on cell­phones and how that af­fects so­ci­ety is the fo­cus of an up­com­ing doc­u­men­tary by Walling­ford res­i­dent and Wi­dener Uni­ver­sity As­so­ciate Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Stud­ies Pro­fes­sor Dwight DeWerth-Pallmeyer.

“Cel­lu­lar Af­ter­shocks,” the sec­ond doc­u­men­tary fea­ture from DeWerth-Pallmeyer, will study the fix­a­tion with our cell­phones — us­ing Delaware County res­i­dents from dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions as the film’s sub­jects.

“The goal is that you be­come a master of the cell­phone, not that the cell­phone be­comes your master,” said DeWerth-Pallmeyer. “What you find with any new tech­nol­ogy is there are un­in­tended con­se­quences. What we want to fo­cus on is those un­in­tended con­se­quences and some so­lu­tions.”

Orig­i­nally, the film was to fo­cus on 19-year-olds from four dif­fer­ent con­ti­nents, but fund­ing has lim­ited the scope to be­ing the area col­lo­qui­ally known as Delco.

But this was a per­fect mi­cro­cosm for the project, see­ing that the county has a very di­verse pop­u­la­tion across age, so­cio-eco­nomic sta­tus, race, po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion, and other ar­eas.

“In a way it’s like a big city in a small town,” said DeWerth-Pallmeyer. “I’ve lived in four dif­fer­ent time zones across the United States and I see an el­e­ment of ev­ery­thing here in Delaware County … It’s a great mi­cro­cosm of the United States and the world.

“This is a world­wide phe­nom­e­non. I read about this in Africa, Asia, Europe and it’s ev­ery­where, the same is­sues. Delaware County is just as good as any­where I think.”

DeWerth-Pallmeyer said “Cel­lu­lar Af­ter­shocks” will hu­man­ize the cell­phone fa­nati­cism by fol­low­ing these sub­jects for its story arc. He rec­og­nized that a doc­u­men­tary reaches more stu­dents now than writ­ten words do.

Ul­ti­mately, DeWerth-Pallmeyer is look­ing to have peo­ple put down their cell­phones for a lit­tle bit.

“Tech­nol­ogy is grow­ing at such a fast pace we don’t even have time to breathe, catch up and un­der­stand,” he said. “We need to start do­ing that.”


Wi­dener Uni­ver­sity As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Stud­ies Dwight DeWerth-Pallmeyer, cen­ter left, with stu­dents, from left, Paul Keenan, Alexus Yang and Ryan Kresky, work­ing on the doc­u­men­tary “Cel­lu­lar Af­ter­shocks.”

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