One of the bonus of flying on general aviation planes is getting to have a say in our electronic devices usage. Yes we like to leave them on, even when at those altitudes they likely have no signal, you can still play your candy game or finally edit that photo album. And yes for some take that selfie, guilty as charged ourselves.
Now those Ipads and other tablets that allow us to have electronic charts as opposed to suitcases of charts, we love them or hate them, but they have become a tool we use. I personally love them, but I still teach the old school methods so that moment all those electronics fail you still navigate, but also so you can better use the electronic devices. Yes knowing old school often has one using some of the little tricks, and often part in parcel the tips and changes that have been keeping us updating our apps so often.
But at what part are these thing getting in our way?
When you begin to be dependent on their information and also not really looking out and flying the plane. Even the folks buying that antique Piper cub, but want a radio to use to avoid traffic, yet same person isn't really looking outside for the same traffic which may likely be another without a radio also. Yes even that person flying in some open cockpit plane yet seems to wander in the sky often because checking their phone?! I mean really your in a Stearman on a super smooth cool morning and you cant stop looking at your phone to enjoy the flight? why are you flying again?... yes there are pilots doing this.
I am not saying turn it off and never use, but seriously lets use some sense here (its not common anymore so cant even call it that). I take pictures with my students when in level cruise flight and not in the pattern, and then the phone ends up face down on the dash again. If it will take more than 3 seconds to do or read or look at, then you probably shouldn't do it period. Not in a pattern area, not in the busy training area or any other really need to focus on during flight moment.
If you really cant ignore the phone for an hour you probably shouldn't go fly, or if business is that needy that you cant take that hour away again don't fly until you can.
Instructors start that training early if the students doesn't put down their phone during training, then its time to halt their training. You do not want to be that former instructor of a pilot who had a midair and knowing that they were probably on some device not related to the flight or dependent on devices to do the work of their own eyes and brains.
I once was entering a pattern radioed several times ahead direction and altitude t enter downwind at the 45. My student unfortunately (for rather fortunately) did not hold pattern altitude so was now 700 feet agl as opposed to 800 agl. All this time was another plane calling in similar call from the opposite side. I knew would meet close in time and we had our eyes peeled. Called downwind then at same moment that other plane also called downwind, I had student begin the bail off the downwind just in time to see the plane literally a 100 feet above us. It never acknowledged our calls, nor did they acknowledge us on the ground when parked together, I would have confronted the pilot rather nastily, but he did have a young child so I didn't make a scene. you cant always trust devices to keep you safe if it is not used properly by everyone.
Count your time looking at a device "one potato, two potato, 3 potato look outside" Devices were meant to be the backup not the primary.
Now on a side note Im loving Stratus more because my phone will continue to have signal even above 10k agl. So a radio failure means now I can text someone to inform ATC, or possibly even call a tower myself. Which 24 hr ATC tower do you have in your contacts? Make sure its direct to the cab and remember it can be the home tower because they can call any facility quicker than you can look up the info!