The SmartPhone Syndrome

Probably I have written a similar post in the past.

People are becoming total anti-socials with the deep penetration of SmartPhones in society. Not only that, they are on the verge of causing minor accidents when walking on the roads while browsing their phones.

It is indisputable that SmartPhones are becoming the centre of our existence.

Previously, it used to be laptops, and then tablets. Then phablets, which are tablet phones. Now it is SmartPhones all the way, because most average folks have figured out that they really do not need a laptop + a tablet + a phablet + a SmartPhone.

A rather big SmartPhone will do.

It is not that people are constantly getting text messages and so have to keep looking and texting from their SmartPhones. Yes, most people appear to be doing some texting, but many others are just using their SmartPhones to watch videos or TV Serials, or play games. Or, browse news articles.

It is OK to do all these activities when one is seated in a MRT train or a bus. It is definitely not OK when people try to carry out these activities while walking for short distances from the rail station or the bus stop to their homes or offices, for instance. They don’t realize what is ahead of them, engrossed in the video for example. Other pedestrians who are sober and not using their phones, have to avoid these SmartPhone viewers who seem to think that the pavement is their right of way irrespective of who or what is ahead of them. And that would mean avoiding some 70% of smartphone-wielding pedestrians.

Apart from the above behaviour, such a heavy focus on one’s smartphone distracts people from official or business meetings, and even from personal meetings. It is not unusual to pass by a coffee shop and see two people seated across from each other, and both browsing their respective phones, rather than enjoying their coffee and talking to each other ! I am sure you have seen such folks.

There are useful situations ofcourse, when for instance you are navigating – looking for a specific shop in a mall, or even looking for the precise location of a building. It was interesting yesterday when I asked a sweeper on the road to guide me to a specific mall. He replied asking me why I am not using the Google Maps on my phone, as he was not sure of the building’s location ! Yes, ofcourse, the SmartPhone then proves its worth.

Networking via smartphone is not a bad idea, but nothing can replace a physical meeting F2F when multi-faceted dimensions come to play, revealing facts as well as emotions in a way better than any online remote networking can deliver. Youngsters may not agree, but I believe in the wisdom of the old style F2F meetings.

I hope that car drivers do not use their smartphones for anything except to navigate their way while driving !

The way we live our lives is definitely changing and changing rather fast. The next smartphone is going to have bendable, flexible displays. The value is unimaginable but there is nothing to replace human engagement in the usual way.


Vijay Srinivasan
29th Sep 2013


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