Earlier this year, I wrote an article about why I choose to keep my dumb phone despite the fact that the rest of the world adopted the iPhone 5 twelve years ago (okay, that’s a slight exaggeration). My article sparked some much-needed conversation both here at Greatist and on Lifehacker, where it generated nearly 200 comments arguing for and against the use of both “dumb” and “smart” technologies. This video takes that conversation to a whole new level.
Written by Charlene deGuzman and directed by Miles Crawford, the video has racked up more than 10 million views in the past five days alone — suggesting folks have strong opinions about how smart phones affect our lives. The artfully-shot short chronicles deGuzman’s participation in a number of gorgeous, sentimental, and momentous occasions — all of which are missed by her compatriots, who are too distracted by their phones’ screens to take notice.
As smart technology increasingly infiltrates our lived experiences (at least in the Western hemisphere), we as individuals, communities, and a society need to think and talk about whether and how smart technologies should be incorporated into our daily lives.
While smart phones have their arguable benefits — they connect us to friends and loved ones and allow us to keep useful apps at our fingertips, for instance — they’re not without downsides. Exposure to an unrelenting influx of information and sensory stimulation encourages multitasking, which generally diminishes productivity and inhibits the formation of-short term memories Who multi-tasks and why? Multi-tasking ability, perceived multi-tasking ability, impulsivity, and sensation seeking. Sanbonmatsu DM, Strayer DL, Medeiros-Ward N, Watson JM. Department of Psychology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54402 Deficit in switching between functional brain networks underlies the impact of multitasking on working memory in older adults. Clapp WC, Rubens MT, Sabharwal J, Gazzaley A. Department of Neurology, The W M Keck Foundation for Integrative Neuroscience, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2011 Apr;108(17):7212-7. Obsessive social networking has been shown to actively harm relationships and mental health Online social networking and addiction — a review of the psychological literature. Kuss DJ, Griffiths MD. International Gaming Research Unit, Psychology Division, Nottingham Trent University, UK. The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2011 Sept; 8(9):3528-3552 The effect of psychiatric symptoms on the internet addiction disorders in Isfahan’s University students. Alavi SS, Maracy MR, Jannatifard F, Eslami M. Behavioral Sciences Research Center and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Isfahan University of Medical Science, Isfahan, Iran. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences. 2011 Jun; 16(6):793-800 Media multitasking is associated with symptoms of depression and social anxiety. Becker MW, Alzahabi R, Hopwood CJ. Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. 2013 Feb; 16(2):132-5.. This video makes that last point painfully clear: When everyone in a group of friends is mass tweeting over lunch, it’s clear they aren’t bettering the relationships right in front of them.
The point is not that smart phones are inherently “bad.” Rather, the film makes a compelling argument for the importance of mindful integration of technologies into our lives — so that they don’t become our lives. Though it contains hardly any dialogue, the video delivers a powerful message: Do not let your phone destroy opportunities to connect with other humans and the world at large. Put down the phone, and love the one(s) you’re with.
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