Are we spending too much time looking down at our phones?

“In truly public space—on sidewalks, in parks, on buses and on trains—we move face down, our phones cradled like amulets,” writes a Salon columnist in an article arguing that mobile phones are helping to fray the urban social fabric. And The Guardian’s Oliver Burkeman recently complained, “I’m forever navigating around people utterly absorbed in their phones” as New Yorkers have become “distracted walkers.” Of course, it’s not just the public sphere: It’s in meetings, at meals, during family time and with friends, as the viral video “I Forgot My Phone” makes clear.

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Increasingly not only cultural observers but the offenders themselves are becoming more aware of how much time they spend looking down, immersed in mobile devices. Watch for a “heads-up movement” as people start making a more concerted effort to be more attuned to people and the environment around them, and ask others to do the same. The irony is that in some cases this will be enabled by technology itself, as wearable tech like Google Glass can help users have it both ways.


Image credit: YouTube