Hey Smartphone Addicts: Look Up!


Shockingly,  adults spend up to ten hours a day consuming electronic media. Nearly a fourth of teenagers are “almost constantly” online.  What do these trends tell us about people today?  That we are nearly oblivious to the environment we live in and our fellow humans.

Adam Popescu’s recent NY Times story Keep Your Head Up: How Smartphone Addiction Kills Manners and Moods https://nyti.ms/2GhizKz  struck a chord.  His title statement should be painfully (as in neck pain) obvious to anyone who is not looking at their phone and sees instead legions of phone zombies.

Among the lowlights of this informative piece:

  • “The problem of looking at our devices nonstop is both social and pysiological.”
  • “Text neck is becoming a medical issue that countless people suffer from…”
  • “That always-on behavior that smart phones contribute to causes us to remove ourselves from our reality…”
  • “We’re missing a whole life happening a mere 90 degrees above our smartphones.  Start looking up.”

Several years ago, I wrote the book Look Up! Birds and Other Natural Wonders Just Outside Your Window that specifically addresses his last point http://conservationcatalyst.org/look-up/  It includes the essay “Zombies Walking Amok” that describes the perils and missed opportunities inherent in cell phone addiction.

Look Up! Cover

Noticing nature and as Popescu says “actual human beings in the flesh” should take precedence over our hand-held devices.  Our necks, our souls and our relationships with people and nature stand to benefit by looking up.  As I said in my book “Zombies, throw off your technological shackles!  Try something else extraordinary that is free.  Look up and engage your senses.  You might like it”