It used to be if you buried your nose in a newspaper while in company you’d get told off for being antisocial.
Now you’ll do well to observe a social gathering where at least one person isn’t thumbing their way through an internet-enabled device, ignoring the people in their immediate vicinity.
And this was before Pokemon Go took phone-gazing to a whole new level.
Rather than admonish this sort of antisocial activity, we’re meant to applaud it as progress.
You have to admire the warped logic whereby it’s acceptable to scan a news website on your iPad while in polite company, but it’s frowned upon to take shelter behind a broadsheet.
Of course, as well as keeping up to date with breaking news, the main reason many of us rely so heavily on our smart technology is to stay ‘in touch’ via social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Whoever coined the term ‘social networking’ must have done so with their tongue planted firmly in their cheek.
Set against the backdrop of technological advance, activities that would previously have been frowned upon as being antisocial are now elitist forms of socialising.
What is most galling about our enhanced powers of sociability is when you’re out for a night with someone and they spend most of the evening checking their phone.
They might as well say to you, “Although I really enjoy spending time with you, there are some even cooler people online right now and I need to know where they are and what they’re doing.”
It seems the further away people are, the more chance there is of interaction.
Technological advances have also helped the world of gaming shrug its antisocial status.
Games consoles like the Sega Megadrive used to be regarded as brain-rotting solo pursuits, but not so anymore. Now, thanks to the Xbox and its buddies, you can play games live with people on the other side of the world.
Better still, if you have the necessary equipment you can chat to the person in China who is thrashing you at FIFA while your little brother is waiting outside in the rain with a slowly deflating football.
But at least Pokemon Go has got people out and about. They may still be glued to their phones but at least they’re out and about.
In the midst of all this antisocial behaviour, stands television, the last bastion of sociability.
Good old TV. For years it has been at the centre of family life, entertaining, educating and providing an artificial light in living rooms.
When John Logie Baird first introduced television to the masses it was not uncommon for three generations of the same family to congregate in the good room to watch a chat show with no guests.
Television remains a focal point for families. Three generations of the same family will still gather in the good room to watch their favourite show, with the small exception that one will be watching on their tablet, another on their laptop and one on their phone.
The actual TV set remains switched off.