While I agree that we need to regulate ourselves and set boundaries to avoid being consumed by the technology, I don't think it is a fundamentally new problem. Society always has to adapt and create norms by which all members must abide in order to function. Today we struggle to create those norms for smartphone and tablet use, but past societies have had to do the same for other social advancements.
When the telephone was invented, suddenly we are able to contact each other instantly and remotely. Whereas in the past, you would write someone a letter or visit them, now you can simply call. When is it appropriate to call? Can I call at dinner time? Should I expect you to be available to talk? Is it rude to tell someone certain news (deaths, etc) over the phone versus in person or in a letter? Over time society answered those questions.
You could use similar examples for things like the automobile (how fast is too fast? Should I let that person on my right have the right-of-way?), which when it was invented was more or less unregulated as far as how it was built and used. Or, clothes, for that matter - which, I suppose, were more or less optional at some distant point in our history.
I'm rambling a bit but the main point I'm trying to make is that yes, we have some work to do as a society to integrate universal communications as we have them into our lives effectively. We have a responsibility to agree upon a set of rules and to teach those to our children. It is just one more thing we need to pass along to our kin in order to make them productive members of society, similar to teaching them to drive or to dress themselves.
by Felipe Luchi (Brazil)
for Go Outside magazine
original story gizmodo.com