An opinion piece in the Herald Sun this week has posed an interesting question around our modern day reliance on technology. Specifically, those expensive little rectangles we tend to have glued permanently to the palm of our hands, where we gather our news, scroll through pictures of our grandkids’ lunches (which never contain a sensible, cheap, packed sandwich), and do our banking.
Yes, of course we’re talking about smartphones.
Fifteen years ago, we couldn’t possibly have imagined the advancement in the technology we now carry like a necessity. Mobiles were still pretty basic, albeit grainy cameras were being added to newer models.
They were beginning to come with internet capability, but if you accidentally clicked on that button you madly tried to get out of it because charges for data were astronomical (well, more so than today).
They still had actual buttons, no predictive text (and thankfully, no blasted autocorrect) and every time you upgraded you had to manually add all of your contacts into the new phone.
Back then, you probably actually still had people’s numbers memorised – in your actual brain – too!
And now, you
The article titled ‘Our smartphones are making us dumbhumans‘ goes through a few of the ways author Kylie Lang has observed this to be the case.
Not only are our phones taking over from our actual memories, but, incredibly, people are actually dying as a result of being glued to their screens.
These advanced little pocket computers – no longer just phones – have people in such a zombie-like state that they’re walking out into traffic, completely oblivious to danger, tripping over, and children as young as six are being treated for device-related neck strain injuries.
The Pedestrian Council in Australia has even had to call for $200 on-the-spot fines for “text walking”, so great is the danger, and Lang points out that one down in Holland is trialling LED traffic lights which run along the footpath edge so pedestrians glued to phones won’t need to look up to avoid being run over.
Arthritic thumbs, RSI, and vision problems are just a few of the milder dangers.
Lang also wrote about research which shows the societal implications of smartphone dependence, where people are more likely to turn to their smartphones for help rather than a fellow human.
And yet, the market for smartphones, and our desire for the latest and greatest is flourishing.