We all have them. Whether it’s an iPhone, an Android phone, Windows (or some obscure Chinese company brand), most of us have had a smartphone for a while. Your life is on that thing. You text, you take photos and videos, you even control your bank accounts from the small device in your hands.
Now, this might sound like an attack on smartphones, but hear me out. I would be hypocritical if I said that I didn’t like smartphones. I have my email, calendar settings, Facebook, Twitter accounts on it, just like everybody else. Instead, this is a simple word to the people that are being changed by the smartphone in a way that removes them in a social sense.
Now, I’m not the most social of people. There’s a party? Eh, maybe. We’ll see how I feel right up until the point of getting ready. But there’s a new phenomena sweeping the world. Go to any party and you’ll feel like you’re just at home. Going places, sitting down and updating your status, tweeting, has become the social norm. Even places that require your full attention, such as the movies, are becoming prime spots to check what is going on in the world around you.
There are so many social settings where this is happening. I’ve seen this happen at places where smartphones simply detract from the place’s experience. Prime example? Let’s say you and some friends are going to AMF for a bowl. Don’t check your phone while your friend bowls. You’re meant to be sharing and enjoying the experience together. What does that say about the value of them to you? I feel like the only justifiable reason to look down is if someone is texting you and it’s the only time that they’re free to talk/text. Do you know how stupid you look when your friend bowls (either terribly or gets a strike) and they look back to see your reaction, only to be greeted by your face lit up by a smartphone backlit screen?
I feel like the need for social knowledge overrides what is happening around you.
Now, this is what really peeves me, and what made me want to write this somewhat long rant. I experience this nearly every day when I head into the city, whether it be for uni or other events. This happens everywhere.
People walking while staring at their phones.
This. Is. Wow. I don’t even. The only acceptable time, in my opinion, for looking at your phone while on foot is if you’re staring at Google Maps trying to find your way, or you’re changing or skipping the current song that you’re listening to.
I absolutely hate with a passion people who feel the need to check photos and statuses on Facebook while walking in a busy area. When I head to uni, I walk either through the tunnel under Central or through the country terminal. These are prime examples of busy areas. And yet, in a place where you need to watch where you’re walking to avoid shoulder charging someone, people are still looking down at their phones.
Is your thirst for what your neighbour ate for breakfast so much more important than making people have to step out of your way simply because you’re paying less attention to the needs of the people around you? There have been times where pedestrian accidents have occurred (what a dramatic sounding thing) simply because people can’t wait between the 5-10 minute travel time to make sure they haven’t missed any events.
Put the phone away.
Better yet, do what I do. Turn your phone internet off. It’s simple with most smartphones. Not only do you stop yourself looking like a self-obsessed douche, you’re more attentive to your surroundings.
Maybe even turn your music off (not really though). I’ve taken my earphones out and I noticed so many things about the city and other places that I never would have if I had music on and was staring at Facebook.