Why Do People Always Look At Their Smart Phone?


People drift into their own little world and zone-out when they are engaged with their smart-phone — completely ignoring what is going on around them. Absorbed device users are oblivious to danger. In fact, it can even kill you, like it did to this young man…

Security video footage from a crowded San Francisco commuter train showed the gunman pull out the .45-caliber pistol, raise it and point it across the aisle…The man drew the gun several more times and once wiped his nose with the hand holding the weapon.

The District Attorney said regarding the security video,

“These weren’t concealed movements — the gun is very clear,”
“These people are in very close proximity with him, and nobody sees this!”
“They’re just so engrossed, texting and reading and whatnot. They’re completely oblivious of their surroundings.”

The murderer was looking for a victim, and while waving his gun on the train he randomly chose his target who was was exiting the train and shot him in the back of the head.

This occurred during September of 2013.

During a previous career, I spent a number of years commuting into a major city and would at times take the train. I was always amazed at the complete and utter lack of situational awareness by 99% of the commuters. It was astonishing to me.

Everyone with their head down, mostly into their smart-phone, tablet, or laptop, some reading a book and others reading a newspaper (they still print those?). Even those who had ear-buds in, listening to music, would mostly look down or have their eyes closed – while others simply took a nap.

They always looked like zombie robots to me.

People who pay too much attention to digital technology are also vulnerable to theft. “Oftentimes when you interview people who get their phone stolen, when you ask them to describe where the person came from, what he was wearing, they have no idea,” said a police Chief discussing the issue.

One study found that almost half of all pedestrians exhibited dangerous behavior crossing the street while on their phone. They didn’t look both ways, they forced a car to stop suddenly or swerve, or they bumped into something.

Since 2004, the number of pedestrians hit and checked into emergency rooms has tripled nationwide because they were distracted by a cell phone.

Approximately 23% of auto collisions involved a cell phone.

With all the types of distracted driving activities, text messaging makes a crash up to 23 times more likely.

It’s not safe to lose situational awareness. Burying your head in a smart-phone (or similar) while either driving or otherwise, can be a recipe for disaster.

It seems that no matter where you are, no matter the environment (inside or outside), no matter the place, there are lots and lots of people who are looking at their smart-phones. In their own little bubble. Oblivious.

For many, it is instinctive such that when they are bored, they look to their smart device for distraction. For others, when they feel insecure, they go to their smart device to immerse into what feels good for them.

For some, perhaps it’s egotistical satisfaction to appear to others as though they are so popular and electronically socially connected.

Maybe some people just aren’t comfortable with themselves or the world around them while out and about. Perhaps afraid to look around and take it all in, or afraid to have to look someone else in the eye, or worse yet… to be conversational – to have to think and speak.

Don’t let this be you (completely engrossed)! Stay aware.

Remember these two words, SITUATIONAL AWARENESS.

Learn to enjoy your surroundings. Look around when walking – no matter where you are. See, hear, and experience the REAL world around you.

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  1. I used to drive an armored truck in the downtown area of a large city. There were three things to look out for. Bicyclists, who claim the right to the road but don’t have to obey traffic signals and signs. The homeless zombies who are overmedicated or high. But the worse were “the techno-zombies”. Young professionals walking head down looking at their I-phones. They never look either direction before walking into the street. They seem to put total faith that a driver will see and yield to them even when they walk against the light. I was always amazed that more pedestrains didn’t get flattened. I looked forward to driving in the higher crime and lower income areas. The pedestrians were much more aware of the dangers.

  2. It is simple. These people have NO social skills or personality. So they cradle and idolize these devices to give their small insignificant lives value, meaning and definition.

  3. Don’t expect these people to stop being zombies while on the phone. Most commuters use their phones to relax while on their commute or use it so they can avoid interaction with their fellow travelers. I doubt that anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis falls into this label, for the most part we will be the survivors when the **** hits the fan.

  4. I am such a dinosaur! I don’t even have a cell phone! They have their uses for sure,but I have been able to get by without one so far!

    1. No cell phone, no tablet just a PC at home. No Facebook. Starting to hate Twitter. Unbelievable for what I see going down the freeway, people holding the steering wheel in place WITH THEIR KNEES while texting, LOTS OF THEM! This goes for commercial drivers as well. This is why I run a homebased business and don’t go out very often.

    2. I used one for work and that was fine. Once I stopped working I stopped using the cell phone. Now I see people who walk past my home which is over looks a very well known sight seeing area I see people even people with very young kids who are just learning to ride a tricycle and they are just staring at the phone. They do look up to make video’s of them. I was watching some parents do that last evening and got to thinking when the child is say 20 or perhaps older will they even be able to view that video because the computer format will have change to the point their new computer can not read the device .

  5. Our world is changing and for the worse. Cell phones are nice to have for an emergency but I don’t understand this texting deal> Why don’t they just call and TALK to the person they want to. I have a phone but I don’t text for NOTHING. I tell all my friends to CALL me if they want to talk to me as I will NOT play the texting game. Another factor about texting is the accidents they cause. I’m sure you have seen the commercials by now but these stupid people insist on texting while driving and it isn’t just the citizens either the police do it also. There should be a law against using a cell phone while driving. I’m talking about STIFF fines and work details if caught. To many people have gotten hurt because of this texting while driving and it needs to stop on way or another. I’m amazed at the CHILDREN having cell phones. My friends 13 and 10 year old have very expensive phones…..why? Who does a 13 and 9 year old need to call? This trend that we as American’s are getting into is nothing but a way for the government to track you and listen in on your conversations and NO they don’t need warrants now all they have to say is “National Security” and go about what they want to do. Most people doesn’t realize that a cell phone is NOT a toy and it is VERY disrespectful to play with your phone in front of company. I have left many friends homes because they want to do the phone thing instead of being a good host to you. That pisses me off when they do that and I wont say nothing but ” see ya later” and leave and they wonder WHY I left like that! Another bad thing about cell phones is you can pay your bills “online” with them and THAT is also a way for the government to track you and your habits. Like I said cell phones are great for emergency uses but for just texting and the like they are garbage and I personally don’t condone them and will not be a part of this new movement to text.

        1. the majority are now addicted, it is very annoying.
          how important do you need to feel to others?
          is it a social competition over time and attention plus constant ego stroking.
          i have an old cell just talk and text, no apps required.
          and you have all of the imaginary inconveniences solved!

          1. I agree with you jack: it’s definitely become an addiction: even if they don’t have their heads in the phone they are holding that phone for dear life. it simply amazes me in a bewildered sort of way

  6. Good topic! I just mentioned this to my wife the other day? I too, call them zombies. The enormous amount of people, family members, and associates that I work with, go to their little world (smart phone) to do whatever? Text, tweet, play games, read the jokes that aren’t even funny, but chuckle anyway, unaware of their surroundings. They are unable to hold a conversation or a discussion for any period of time. Real time just passes them bye? Are they loosing their social skills to communicate? To look their neighbor in the eye? Or even their spouse, nothing to talk about when they get home, everything has done been said somewhere on the highway? So easy to hurt feeling, shut friends & family out with just a tweet!

  7. I do not have a smart phone. Just a old fashioned cell with no internet. I really dislike it when I am with a friend and the constantly look down at their phone or have to stop and update their facebook. So annoying. I do have a facebook, but I use it the old fashioned way. I do it to keep up with friends and far away family. No twitter, its stupid and not worth my time.
    I do text. I feel like sometimes it’s easier to send a quick text than to be on the phone constantly (and I can’t hear that good). I can live without it. I had to for a week when my other phone broke because I dropped it. I could not find another phone from my provider that was not a smart phone, its a conspiracy, lol. So I bought a refurbished oldie from Amazon. I shall not give in. And before you think I am older, I am not 40 yet! bwhahaha

    I do have a Kindle also. I love to read. But I do it at HOME. I don’t take it anywhere. The back of it lights up and you can make the print big! Its pretty neat.

    You can enjoy tablets and cell phones but just not get obsessed with it, people nowadays are so obsessed. My cell phone stays in my pocket, unless I really need it. Not driving, walking or in stores, buildings,etc.

  8. I also just have a plain old cell phone, nothing fancy, hardly use it. As a matter of fact every time I go to use it, it is dead, that’s how often I actually use it. Speaking of that I need to go charge it now.

  9. It’s good that everyone observes this behavior. Take note. Soon you will need to act this role to blend in. It will be easy for commie snipers to pick off those with their heads up; and while your body falls to the ground, everyone around you will simply swarm around your body, oblivious to your death other than the occasional misplaced foot on your corpse.

  10. Moderation in everything. Its a good motto. I have a smartphone. I use it to call people. I use it to text people. (Texting is efficient for passing on information.. addresses, phone numbers, times and dates, etc). I put my shopping list on it (which is why I look at it in a shop). However I don’t do these things when I’m walking or driving. Its a tool, and like other tools it can be dangerous if you misuse it.

  11. I walked into class the other day and there were 13 out of 13 people on their cell phone…then like 2 more walked in BAM! straight to their phone…I just sat their as no one was talking, thinking…whats goin on?? We are f’d as a generation. Its gunna get a lot worse quickly.

  12. Everytime i go out, everyone walking along the street, heads down, on their phone. They don’t care who they bump into, they’re non-apologetic, selfish people. They may as well live inside their phones, they are obviously not living in the real outside world.
    May as well stay at home just looking at their phones. Nothing outside is important to them.

  13. I was in my forties when these phones started to dribble into our lives.I’m amazed that my age group are also sucked in as well.
    I have my boat and there’s only old gits like me on the water i wonder why.

  14. Y’know there is a device inside a smartphone that causes brain degeneration…just found that out and now it makes sense.

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