It is a generational thing, of course. The worst offenders are teenagers – in terms of the group who are the most distracted because this is the generation who never knew life when it was “real”. They live in the continuous future. They have no experience of subtlety, nuance or considered responses – only of instant, illiterate and ill-considered ones. The gratification teens crave is not the warm smile of affection or the approving comment from another human, but the sense of achievement they gain from electronic validation. Emails, texts and updates pinging in reassure them they are alive and popular and abreast of rolling social news.

Here’s how to outwit the smartphones. So true. I remember what it was like back in my day: we teenagers then were masters of subtlety and nuance, and we considered every response most carefully. What a falling-off there has been to the little monsters that surround us now. I suppose that today’s young people don’t memorize the teachings of Miss Manners as we did when I was young. So sad.