Walking into a restaurant and seeing people more focused on their mobile than on their partners is becoming a more and more usual scenario. However, it is still really frowned upon. I myself complain about this behaviour all the time.
Last weekend one of my friends came to Edinburgh to visit me after 8 months without seeing each other. It was frustrating to see how, during our meals and while exploring the city, she seemed to be more interested in her mobile than our conversations, whether it was to check her email or to see how many ‘likes’ the photo she just posted had. I actually had to scold her more than once, tired of being seated in the restaurant looking at the walls. Really, I have to tell an adult how rude it is to behave like that?
I’m not going to lie to you or myself, I couldn’t live without technology. I live in a foreign country (I’m from Barcelona) and I can’t imagine how it would be to not call my family and friends via Skype, buy flights on the internet to visit them, access my Spotify list while flying and, once in the airport, write to my sister by Whatsapp to know where exactly she is waiting for me instead of looking for her among the crowd like if Waldo was her name.
But even if technology makes our life easy, we shouldn’t dedicate more time to our devices than our own family and friends.
Obviously I am not the first to point that out. Many sociologists and doctors have warned about the social, mental and even physical risks from our attachment to technology. One of these problems is, of course, the addiction to our mobiles (aka nomophobia). However, there are many who are trying to save the society from this problem.
This year the Minister of Education, Culture, Technology and Science of Japan started a new project to help solve this kind of addiction. In order to keep youth away from computers and mobiles, they created an 8 day camp for young people where it was completely forbidden to have access to any of these devices. As a result, the study concluded that the participants weren’t first interacting with the rest of the group or the psychologists but at the end they all were really social and extroverted.
Actually, there are a lot people who need to be in constant contact with their electronic devices. Having the phone in their hands or sleeping with it under the pillow is becoming a need for many. To beat the phobia of not being in actual contact with mobiles, a group of friends from the Netherlands and the United States came up with the NoPhone The NoPhone is simply a piece of black, rectangular-shaped plastic, billed as a new way of helping managing app addiction.
Creators Van Gould, Ingmar Larsen and Ben Langeveld said the NoPhone was originally conceived after a night out socializing and, by ‘socialize’ they mean stare at their phones and occasionally look up from their screens to order another round.
Something similar happened in Brazil. The owners of a bar were tired of seeing people hanging out in their bar without not even talking. That was what made them look for a solution to end the situation: the ‘offline vase’. Thanks to this creation, the customers of the Salve Jorge Bar now can do nothing but talk to their friends.
Despite the efforts some are making to deal with our addiction to technology, others just accept this is how society now works and tries to adapt to this new situation. This is the case in the Chinese city of Chongqing. A month ago this city created a special path for people addicted to smartphones in order to protect them from falling to the floor or crash into all kinds of obstacles.
Thanks to the existence of this technology, we not only loose time we could spend with our friends, but also we miss everything that happens around us. This year Coca Cola launched this ironic campaign to denounce our bad social behaviour and to suggest a simple but an effective method to solve this problem.
We can then say, not all are advantages with technology and sometimes it can also be dangerous. Brands like Ikea and Moleskine point out how technology sometimes is less effective and more risky than paper. With these fun campaigns, these brands invite us to leave technology aside.
Moleskine has created an outdoor campaign with posters that recreate the cover of their famous notebooks highlighting the advantages of paper support.
Meanwhile, Ikea showed us the advantage of have an actual ‘bookbook’ rather than an ebook or tablet through this TV ad campaign.
So please, go! Stop reading this post now and recommend it to your friends while enjoying a drink.