Mobile phones. We’re becoming addicts without morals.

Earlier in the year I posted this feature about how we’re effectively living our lives through and behind a mobile screen now. It’s something that I saw on holiday too and, if I still had the photos (and hadn’t smashed my phone to bits), I’d show you some examples.

What I can tell you is that, whilst visiting Disney in Florida, I saw a couple of people checking their phone whilst actually on a log flume. There we were, going up the slow incline part, and the guy in front of me was scrolling through his Facebook updates. I also noticed someone else using the free Disney WiFi to catch-up on a TV show whilst the big evening fireworks were happening. He’d battled to get near the front, then sat down and was watching TV.

There seems to be some in-built desire to only be somewhere so that you can share the experience via a smartphone. Too many people head to a photo spot, take a snap, then instantly share it on Facebook and walk off. They don’t stand there and go, “Hey, this is amazing, let’s appreciate this moment. I’ve worked all year for this holiday with my family. I should value this”. No. Instead they don’t lift their eyes from their smartphone. It’s like they’ve become disconnected from the world, and this is all getting worse.

Spot the lady who’s not living life through a screen

It’s why, as I said in my broken phone story, I chose to turn off the data on my phone. I don’t want to have notifications, pop-ups and reminders when I’m on holiday. I should be spending time with my family, remembering what’s important. I’d forced myself to do it, and I’m glad I did.

In a way, I don’t mind a great deal that I’ve potentially lost all my photos. I can still remember things like spending all day with my son at Crayola World. We spent a full 6 hours together just colouring and mucking about. Good times. He was also pretty glad, I’m sure, that I wasn’t faffing around with my phone every few minutes because of a tweet, a Facebook message, an email, a YouTube comment or some other such unimportant nonsense.

Family. That’s what’s important. Your health, your family, your friends. We should be caring for each other and grabbing that free time by the horns. Not staring into a phone or having some weird knee-jerk reaction to share and film everything we’re seeing.

But the truth is, it’s not happening. I’ve worked in, and written about, the mobile industry for many, many years. I’ve seen mobile phones change from a productivity and connectivity tool to a full-time addiction. It should be recognised as such for some people in my opinion.

Yesterday a police officer got been knocked off his motorbike. The first thing that bystanders did was film it. This behaviour is becoming less shocking. People are detaching themselves from reality, shielding themselves with that LCD panel. So, in Coventry, whilst the officer was pursuing a stolen bike, doing his duty, protecting us, he came off. He hit the ground. It was a bad accident, and he was doing his job. A job for us. He could have been injured badly. He needed help. But no. People saw him fall and instinctively got their phones out instead…

That’s a very strongly-worded response from the police, but I think it’s right…

The difference between us and you is if you ever need our help in future, we still respond.

What troubles me is that this is happening more and more. Behaviour is changing. Less people help and assist when something happens. Instead, they film it and walk away. In addition, some on Twitter are actually defending the actions of those filming the injured policeman as he lay on the road…

There’s a bit more to that Twitter thread where “john glasgow” ends up trying to construct some mad logic to his opinions just because he’s had a few bad interactions with the police in the past.

Truth is, this is all a bit bonkers. Are we all moaning, blameless, lazy phone addicts? Or can we ever move back to a time where the smartphone wasn’t our first, second, third and fourth priority in life?