Cellular Aftershocks-- Call to Action-HD 1 minute, 37 seconds from Dwight DeWerth-Pallmeyer on Vimeo.

Currently seeking  U.S. tax deductible ​​​ Contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations with 501c3 sponsorship
from the:
The  Greater Philadelphia Film Office


Cellular Aftershocks  follows individuals in  the highly diverse, heavily populated Delaware County  
outside Philadelphia.  
Those we follow represent different ages, races,
and socio-economic profiles.  

What they & we have in common:
 profound problems stemming from cell phone dependency. 

Join us as we explore solutions!
A feature documentary slated
for release in
Summer 2017.

Cellular Aftershocks

Blog 8

Where have all the
flowers gone?

The question posed by Pete Seeger's 1962 ballad, recorded by Peter, Paul, and Mary is akin to Bob Dylan's ballad, 1963, Blowing in the Wind.   Both were early indictments of military involvement in Indochina...leading to the Viet Nam war.

I think that sometimes my research finds me feeling at war with technology.    And of course, it's not really technology that is the problem, it's our inability to feel we can escape it.   

One Illinois State researcher, Brandon McDaniel, featured in my forthcoming film, Cellular Aftershocks, refers to the phenomenon as "technopherence."  It occurs when we let our dependency, particularly on the cell phone, get in the way of our key interpersonal relationships.   When we are talking with others, and then attempt to simultaneously start texting someone else during the conversation, we are engaging in an actvity labeled "phubbing."  It implicitly tells the person with whom we were conversing, that the cell phone is more important.   In fact, the phenomenon is leading to marital conflict and poor parenting.

For me, there has to be a time each day when we set aside our technology...
actually turn off our cellphones (I know to many that sounds downright blasphemous) and just be.    Just be with one other person.  Just be with nature.  Just be with yourself.   

Take a few minutes each day to disconnect.  Believe me, the messages will be waiting for you when you turn your phone on again!  So will the emails.   So will the obligations.

But for me, God put us here on this planet to enjoy it, to engage with others on an intimate level, to stop and smell the flowers.  So to point to one last song from an era gone by, read these words to the 1974 hit by singer/songwriter Mac Davis:
Did you ever take a walk through the forest
Stop and dream a while among the trees?
Well you can look up through the leaves right straight to heaven.
You can almost hear the voice of God
In each any every breeze.

You've got to Stop and Smell the Roses
You've got to count your many blessings everyday.

While I'm not snapping photos of flowers with my camera (or my smartphone (GUILTY), I'm making an effort just to enjoy them for what they are:  God's creation, nature's candy.   Put your phone down for a bit and discover that thereis a real world and real people who are just as interesting as the latest cute cat YouTube video, right around you.

        Cellular Aftershokcks
                    Blog 7  

It's beginning to look a
           lot like...

     A letter to parents of elementary
   and Junior High School students.

Dear Moms & Dads:

If this is the holiday season when you are making the leap  to give your junior high or elementary school student their first smartphone, please go into the gifting season wide-eyed and ready to enforce some clear ground rules. That is because once your child has his/her first phone,  your life and your child's life will never be quite the same. 

The evidence from research around the world is universal: while smartphones may indeed constitute as a necessity in modern life, they come at a cost:  shortened attention spans, less outside activity, depression, anxiety, learning disabilities, poorer interpersonal communication skills, and later on, more traffic accidents and automotive fatalities, stress, and lowered job performance.

Here are a few of our recommendations:  

*Put all cell phones away at dinner.   That will force some interpersonal interaction and believe it or not, children do model parental behavior.   If parents are on cell phones during dinner, you can bet children will be too.  You would be surprised how often kids report feeling hurt that mom and dad are always on their phone, even at the dinner table.

*Limit the number of hours allowed on the cell phone each day.  Perhaps let children know you will be monitoring their use.   A number of apps are designed for just this purpose:   BreakFree , MMGuardian, PhoneSherriff, etc.  And if you have difficulty avoiding the phone in the car yourself, consider one of these apps, cellcontrol ,  or lifesaver .

*Talk to your children about the pluses and minuses of cell phone use.    For example, let them know that using cell phones in class not only cuts down on their learning (because the brain cannot multitask) but is rude to both the teacher and other students.  

*After you give your child the phone, watch for warning signs in the months to come:  many more hours alone in their room, depression, anxiety, poorer grades.  One study, for example, demonstrated that nine out of ten adolescents felt worse after looking at others' Facebook profiles than before.  That's because all of us tend to make ourselves look just a bit better than we really are when we develop our online profiles.  In turn, the adolescent doesn't see him/herself comparably as good looking or as living as an exciting life as his/her peers.

*Just as you may give a young scout a hatchet for camping trips, let your child know the ax can cut timber for campfires, but it can also cut off fingers.  Similarly, the new smartphone can be used for good or for harm.   Stress the strengths of the cell phone and its limitations.   Given what we have learned about how cell phones are changing all of us and society, this may be one of the best chances of your parental life, to instill your values and open up discussion with your child, because those deeper concepts and values won't be nearly as effective when delivered via a text or Tweet.

And finally, try to enjoy the holidays and spend time with those you love, even when they seem a little snotty.   Put away the phones and spend time getting to know them.   These years go fast, and soon, you will be looking forward to them coming home for the holidays to see you.

And if you feel in the giving mood, it's not too late to help us finish our film.   Frankly we're still thousands in the hole, and any  gift helps.  

If you feel able to do so, consider a tax-deductible gift to the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, attn:  Cellular Aftershocks .

Have a merry Christmas and a blessed Hannukah season!



Cellular Aftershocks
Blog 6
Getting Underway!

Getting on with it…

Life is filled with changing course.   When I was in kindergarten, I was determined to be either a policeman or a fireman.   My ambition at the time was not unusual, but like many other five-year-olds, I eventually changed direction.

My lifetime has included stints as a caddy, an ice-cream scooper,   a busboy, a clerk at a movie theater, a technical writer, a marketing researcher, a news director, a college professor, and as a voice-over artist. 

Making a documentary can be like that.  In fact, that’s a big part of making a documentary--filling many roles--and encountering unexpected detours and surprises with what we encounter.  We typically start with one perspective, and leave with a broader and far more nuanced understanding.

One thing I’ve discovered in this process is that for me, it’s far easier to film a documentary and interview people, than it is for me to raise the essential funds to produce it.

So due in part to my inability to raise the considerable funds required of a world-wide examination, “Cellular Aftershocks” is changing course from following 19-year-old cell phone users in four continents, to an examination of four or five individuals from multiple generations in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, where I live and work.    

In a way, Delaware County represents our nation and our world.  It is filled with diversity. 

For example, the Chester-Upland school district where Widener University is situated (where I work), is typically ranked as one of the lowest-performing districts in the state.  Just across a small creek is the Wallingford-Swarthmore School district (where I live), typically ranked among Pennsylvania’s top ten, along with the Radnor School District, also in Delaware County.

Median family income in Delaware County, Pennsylvania is about $63,000. (The median household income in Chester is less than $29,000, while neighboring Swarthmore is over $86,000.) 92% of Chester –Upland students identify themselves as African American, while 88% of Wallingford-Swarthmore students are Caucasian.
So, while we admittedly, fell far short of our proposed budget, it’s time to make do…and so this week we started filming in earnest.  I was in the Los Angeles area this past week to interview experts who provide therapy and intervention into the lives of those caught within the web of cell phone dependency.  Multiple strategies are used to help the “addicted” cope.

Now we are looking to follow four or five individuals of diverse backgrounds in one small corner of our world.   Yet, we believe their stories, will embody many of the other major difficulties encountered among other overly dependent cell phone users across the US and around the world.

Making a feature documentary is expensive, but can make a real difference when it is able to touch individual lives.  The more financial resources we are able to raise, the greater the opportunity for professional enhancements such as “sound sweetening” and “color correction” and the chance to personally interview more of the world’s top experts.  That enhances the probability for wider distribution of the film resulting in a greater social good by raising awareness of the problems tied to cell phone dependency and addiction.  That information can serve as the catalyst for turning around broken lives and for literally saving others.  

Thanks for your interest and mutual concern.  

                           DDP        8/29/16

              Blog 5

If any of these materials come across as “preachy,” please take no offense.  

That is because I am personally just as guilty as anyone of overuse of video screens and cell phones.  I have had my cell phone ring obnoxious sounds at the most inappropriate times: during class, during the president of my university’s speech, and this past weekend during a large worship service, where the message in my Protestant setting, focused on Jesus’ directive to take a look at the log in one’s own eye before you point out the speck in your neighbor’s eye.

So I’m taking Jesus’ advice as well as the late Michael Jackson’s:

I have been researching this issue for close to two years now and while neuro-scientists and social scientists have argued whether excessive use of cell phones amounts to a behavioral addiction or simply a learned dependency, the pull is indeed strong.  I find myself looking down at my cell phone occasionally as I drive, and I clearly know better.  I’ve studied the data and know how dangerous the practice is to me and to others.    What is it about these devices that is so compelling?    
There clearly are addictive properties tied to our cell phones.  Just recall the last time your cell phone died or was lost and how lost it made you feel.  

We have poured much of our whole lives into the tiny computer in our pocket.   We text each other, we take pictures, we store data, we navigate streets, we investigate what’s going on in the world.   We take so much solace in our digital device that trying to live without it becomes tantamount to the asthmatic trying to live without his/her inhaler.  Indeed, some of us panic if our phones aren’t within instant reach, as if we are gasping for air.

So I plead guilty.   And that’s a start.   I recognize the hold the cell phone has over me, despite my preaching of its dangers.   Perhaps that sense of possible addiction is what is propelling me to take action by investing so much of myself and many of your generous contributions into “Cellular Aftershocks.”   But simply recognizing that one has a problem is not enough.  I need to do something about it.    I need to “change my ways.”   Perhaps we all do, particularly those of us who continue to model behaviors to our children and our grandchildren.

Many of us grew up without a cell phone and we survived, just as earlier generations survived without cars and planes.   But none of us would choose to voluntarily give up our cars and our global travel, just as I would never ask anyone to give up their cell phone.    Yet we have learned to modify our technological behaviors once we learned of some of the inherent dangers in cars and planes.   We now drive more fuel-efficient cars in efforts to save ourselves some money and the planet more carbon generated emissions.   We wear seatbelts and they indeed save lives.  We put up with long security lines at airports to ensure our safety.  

So we can do the same with our phones.   We know how important they are, but there are times when it does the soul better to have a heart-to-heart personal conversation than to text ambiguous messages back and forth.  

We can take a walk in the woods and leave our cell phones at home so we genuinely live a mindful life rather that simply search out the perfect spot for a selfie.  We can read a novel and wrap ourselves in the unique story written by someone of a different culture and background.

There is a time and a place for everything, a time to be born and a time to die , a time to use our cell phones and a time to put them away.   I’m searching for ways to make the use of my cell phone and my digital toys a bit more balanced in my life. 

Cellularaftershocks.com   HOME   

Dwght DeWerth-Pallmeyer 8/2/2016   

              Blog 4

Against the Grain

                                 Asking for help goes against the grain….until it doesn’t

When we started this campaign, to make “Cellular Aftershocks” quite frankly I felt pretty uncomfortable.   It’s not my nature to ask for “hand-outs.”  And to have the audacity to suggest people give $50 or more, seemed audacious at best.   That’s because I’m from the privileged set.  One who can usually afford what I want.   But for once, I can’t.   And you know, I think that’s a blessing in disguise.

For one, it’s taught me to be humble and to recognize that there are many who have to ask for money for food each day.  

Secondly, it’s taught me how hard that must be for the truly poor.   It’s not a good feeling.  We would all like to feel in control of our destinies, whether they be financial, romantic, etc.  The fact is, we are not.  Some of us are very blessed and some clearly have received the short end of the stick.

Third, it has taught me that to truly understand giving. We also need to remember what it is like to receive…the way a child sees the perfect gift under the Christmas tree or during Hannukah makes us understand how good it feels to give.  Giving and receiving go hand in hand.

The focus of this film is to make people aware of how powerful cell phone devices have become in our lives, and while they do so much good, they also can be very destructive.  Just this past week I received a letter from a woman who wrote and told me how her daughter’s constant use of her cell phone has destroyed their relationship.

 I’ve seen two year olds playing with tablets in restaurants.  I’ve heard of marital strife while one spouse feels snubbed by a spouse addicted to his/her phone. I’ve heard of grandparents who are hurt when their grandchildren come over, barely say a word, and proceed to spend the entire visit on their phones.  I’ve heard of employees who spend vast amounts of their workday on their cell phones playing games or texting friends.

So yes, I’m asking you to give.  But it’s not just for me, it’s for all of us.  We need to care about ourselves and care about each other, and spending even more time on our cell phones isn’t the answer.  

Perhaps you are old enough to remember this ad?  The sentiment is true; our phones can do many great things, but our real presence does a great deal more.   

Consider a gift to help us make a movie that we believe can make a difference for us, for you, your family and our society.    And we have plenty of remedies to help.   Help us spread the word!

With my  sincere thanks,

Producer, director, Cellular Aftershocks

 Cellular Aftershocks
                      Blog 3


We all know people who seem to listen to us…..even intently, but as soon as something better comes along….they vanish.   It happens at parties, at meetings, and even in our bedrooms.   In fact, I’ve always had a beef with call-waiting.  “Hold-on, I’ve got to get this; in fact, can I call you back?”  Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.  The point is you’re left feeling like you’re playing second fiddle, and indeed you are!

In cellphone lingo, we call this “phubbing.”  We may be having a personal, “seemingly important” conversation with someone and suddenly they get a text or they are simultaneously speaking with us and engrossed in a bout of “candy crush.”   Since the findings from the field of cognitive psychology suggest we simply can’t really “multitask,” we know that our partner is simply not as involved with our conversation as we are.

And of course, if we “look at the man in the mirror,” we realize we are just as guilty of doing so. 
When we are unable to put down our cell-phones, even if we pack them away in our front pocket, cellphones always have the capability to break down personal conversation and they often do. 

Sometimes our "smartphones" even allow us to “diss” ourselves.  We may be on the verge of some moment of self-discovery, and then we feel the vibration in our pocket and the moment vanishes.

So try turning the phone off for perhaps just a few minutes at first, the next time you go to a party or meet with an old friend or have a romantic dinner.

I don’t like being “dissed” in any context.   Neither do you.   And you can model the “anti-diss” movement, but making a point of turning off your phone, the next time you go out to dinner with a friend.  Say, “Just a minute.  Let me turn off my phone.  You mean more to me than some text message or Facebook alert in the next 60 minutes.”  That will sound like quite the unexpected compliment to those with whom you converse.   Give yourself a little time to talk to others, to yourself, to God—without technological interruption.

To learn more about our relationships with our smartphones, check us out at Facebook.  BTW, we are still seeking funds (big and small) from individuals, companies, and foundations. Consider joining our efforts in our feature documentary.  Let’s all stop dissing each other.

              Dwight DeWerth-Pallmeyer                   6/25/16

Cellular Aftershocks
                         Blog​ #2
Let’s face it; Father’s Day has always taken a back seat to Mother’s Day.   ​
Sure, part of that stems  from images painted by early TV, “Leave it to Beaver.” "Bonanza," "Father Knows Best,” when dad left for work and mom (or Hop Sing) stayed home to nurture us.   But the dynamics have not really changed all that much despite the fact that women now make up the bulk of the workforce and often make significantly more than their husbands do.  Stereotypes are hard to change for all sorts of reasons, and mom is still typically seen as the one who nurtures us, while dad is still caught up in trying to be---well---dad.  Dad is still assumed by many of us to be the breadwinner who mows the lawn, keeps the cars working and makes sure the mortgage is paid on time.

Yet, there is new evidence that dads are falling even further down the pack.   And so are even moms.   If your child doesn’t go overboard treating you special this father’s day, don’t take it so hard.  You are not alone, particularly with Gen X and Gen C.  That’s because, particularly for adolescent children, dads just don’t seem to matter as much anymore.   Most no longer believe, “Father Knows Best.”  In fact, it’s often quite to the contrary.  

In an article for the “ Empowering Parents ” website, the late James Lehman, wrote,  "In my opinion, you can’t insulate your children from the world. There’s nothing you can do about that. You might try to protect them morally, spiritually or mentally, but you can’t isolate them from the world physically.…If they want to do something, you have no control and you can’t change that.

But let’s talk about what you do have control over. Many kids have cell phones, video games, and computers at their disposal. All of these things are capable of introducing concepts, ideas, and behaviors to your child with which you may disagree. I think it’s very important for you to exercise whatever control you can over what happens in your home—and that includes all the information that comes into your home, including TV and the Internet."

But the sad news on this year’s Father’s Day is that we’ve not been all too successful at that here-to-fore, and there is little indication that we will be anytime soon.   Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D writes, "Judy Rich Harris, author of  "The Nurture Assumption,"(2009) draws an unsettling conclusion from her analysis that parents have no lasting effect on the personality, intelligence or mental health of their offspring."  

So where are young people finding their values?  Research conducted by Dr. James Roberts at Baylor University shows the average college female spends up to 10 hours a day on her cell phone, while the average male spends eight hours.   Try to think of the last time any of us dads spent a full eight hours conversing with one of our children. 

Dr. Jenny Radesky is a pediatrician at Boston Medical Center.  In 2015, she studied parent/child relations at fast-food restaurants. Her findings are striking:  She found that over 70 percent of the parents used cell phones at the meals and over half the children believed that was too much.  32% of the kids said it made them feel unimportant.  

So the really sad part of the story is that our children are not just modeling their peers, they are modeling us!  We moms and dads are making our kids feel unimportant because of our over-dependency on our “smartphones.”

Throughout the next several months, I’ll be working on a documentary, “Cellular Aftershocks” that demonstrates the way our intoxication with our cell phones is hurting all of us in some fairly profound ways. ( See film trailer ). Research world-wide points to all kinds of unanticipated consequences from cellphone dependency: 

--from a myriad of consequences on daily life: poor classroom performance, isolation and withdrawal, depression, etc.
--to the change in interpersonal communication patterns, to the changing neuro-patterns in the developing brain
--to the stark generational divide between those who have grown up with smart-phone technologies and those whose values were largely shaped prior to the digital era
--to the notion that increased over-exposure to cellular technology is beginning to separate us from the authentic joys of experiencing nature and eroding interpersonal relationships by mediating between those experiences and a watered-down rendition of them…the tweet that is retweeted and retweeted eventually loses any personal authenticity
--to the the staggering emotional, spiritual and economic costs stemming from both fatal and non-fatal accidents when we mistakenly assume we can “multitask” and safely use cell phones while driving, walking, and conversing with others.

To the extent that we are modeling cell phone dependency, shame on us.   If your kid “surprises” you with a tie instead of a new cell phone case or app this year, go overboard in thanking them…because in fact, they are doing you a real favor.  And if they forget the day because they are
too busy texting their friends, shame on us all.   For it appears we are just another of the factors  permanently affixing them to their cellular umbilical cords, either because of the behavior we are modeling or our inability to set ground rules about cell phones that make any sense to us, to our children, and to the greater benefit of society.

Please consider a tax-deductible gift to our efforts --perhaps in tribute to   YOUR dad--or YOUR children or grandchildren.  This impacts all of us, perhaps more than we realize.

BTW, Happy Father's Day to my dad, 92 years young....May our Cubs come through for you this year!   I love you!

  Dwight DeWerth-Pallmeyer, 6/17/2016

  "My boy was just like me;
   He'd grown up just like me...."
   "The Cat's in the Cradle"  Harry & Sandra Chapin, 1974

Cast of Bonanza

Our children learn to model our behavior from early on in their lives...

My boy was just like me;
he'd grown up just like me....

             Harry Chapin

Cellular Aftershocks Blog 1

Growing up Pre-Smartphone

When many of us "older folk," were growing up, none of us knew of a technology called GPS.   When we traveled, we used something called a “map,” and we unfolded it and chartered our trip by getting to know the “lay of the land.”

Early in my career, working in radio, prior to moving, I relished  studying the map and learning all the pronunciations of all the little towns in a market by listening carefully to the locals.  For example, there is a town near Davenport, Iowa called Orion.   Now most of us would inherently think of pronouncing it the way the movie company is pronounced, but if you made that mistake on-air, people would instantly recognize you as an outsider and it 
could take years to regain your credibility.   

Those were in the days before I could simply ask Siri or Google to take me to 16th and Walnut in Philadelphia and find me a cheap parking space and without knowing anything about the big city, “Scotty” has immediately beamed me down to that location.  (Almost everyone older than 25 understands that jargon, and pop culture may have even passed that understanding down to millennials.)
But it seems to me we’ve all lost something in the “Siri, take me there world.”
I’ve lived in the Philadelphia area for 17 years now, and I am constantly amazed how little I know about the greater metropolitan area,   because I’ve never had any incentive to learn.  Smart phones will simply tell me to take a left in a quarter of a mile and I obey the command, trusting in the geographic algorytems of Waze or Google maps to get me where I need to be within the two to three minute arrival window that is constantly adjusting to traffic and weather.
I now take no pride in navigating the streets of Philly like I did in the previous US time zones I once called home.   Smartphones give us instantaneous answers, but sometimes there is a value in getting a little lost and looking at a road map.  It helps us see the big picture.

  Dwight DeWerth-Pallmeyer, 6/3/2016

Pallmeyer Family Road trip from St. Louis, Missouri to Vancouver, Britsh Columbia,
​navigated by real maps...stop above in Yellowstone National Park (1968)



​Lost perhaps
but learning the lay of the land

Turn-by-Turn Directions