Ya know what's funny? You can get a basic number generator or dice app for free on the play store or the apple store. Some of them even allow you to add bonuses and buffs so the math is done automatically. I have one of these apps on my phone but I also carry my dice everywhere I go. So if it's so convenient to have an app why even bother carrying my dice?
Have you ever been playing some tabletop game and gotten to a point where the session or story is dragging a bit? You get a little bored and then suddenly you start going to other apps on your phone. You check facebook and start stepping outside of the roleplaying experience. You're not in the real world or the fantasy world. You're in the digital world. These apps make it easier to step away instead of fully engage.
It's no secret that this happens outside of the tabletop experience but there's something to be learned from the analogy.
The question I would ask if you're not getting much out of your DnD game, is what are you putting in it? The game master shouldn't be seen as an entertainer but as a director of sorts. The players, in turn, are also entertainers. The GM sets the stage and is only half responsible for the fun you get out of the game. YOU (the player) are responsible for the other half. What you get out of your game is what you put in. If you find yourself disengaging, ask yourself, "What can I do to be more engaged?" If the GM finds his/her players are getting bored he/she would ask, "What can I do to engage these players more?"
This same question can be asked when the cell phone takes us away from connecting with others or fully engaging in a project. The first step may be to find apps that reinforce what you're trying to do. You may even find something that helps you engage better. If you do, I'd recommend turning airplane mode on when you find that right app. Trust me, I'm a full supporter of useful technology in the workplace, gaming sessions and even church.
Here's another idea: why not go unplugged? One of the most memorable DnD sessions I had and one of the best birthday parties I had, were both unplugged. I felt more connected and got more out of the experience. It made me appreciate the feel of dice more. The weight they felt in my hand. The suspense of wondering if I would hit or not. I can't get that from a free app. Invest in some dice and a get a cool dice bag. Ditch the boring clear cylinder (unless it totally works for your sci-fi campaign).
Speaking of dice bags, check out these ones my friend Sadie has recently started selling on her Etsy page. Unlike other dice bags I've seen, these come with fun symbols on 'em. There's something for everyone. You can get something steampunk, one with a pokeball or the hylian crest! She has plans for future bags in the future that may include the family crests from Game of Thrones or the Pathfinder Society faction symbols. Follow her on etsy. Sadie has even given us a nice 15% discount just for our readers. Use coupon code 'MORMONGEEKS' at the checkout.
In the end, don't let digital distractions trick you into neglecting the good quality stuff. Skyrim is a beautiful place but doesn't beat an awesome hike on the wasatch front. An online friend is always better to see offline, face to face. A free app never beats the roll of a D20.