walle-socialnetwork01

I love technology as much as the next guy. I check my phone. Watch TV. Play video games. Hell, I’m writing this blog post on my tablet.

But some people really take this stuff too far.

The other day I heard that the average person checks their phone 140 times per day. One hundred forty! I haven’t fact-checked that statement, but if it’s true, that means people are looking at their phones about once every seven minutes (assuming that they don’t check it for 8 hours a day while they sleep.) And while that sounds insanely excessive, I can actually believe it.

On my daily walk from Penn Station to my office, I get bumped into by about half a dozen people who are so busy looking at their phones that they can’t possibly also pay attention to walking at the same time. Which is dangerous anywhere, but in midtown Manhattan? That’s practically suicide. And despite all the public safety announcements, I all too regularly see people driving while they are checking their phones. Is what they’re looking at really THAT important?

Of course it’s not.

An entire industry has cropped up of folks who will fix your busted phone screen. I wonder how many of those screen-shattering accidents come from people who are checking their phones while trying to do something else, and they simply failed at their attempt to multitask. If you need a bulletproof case because you’re regularly walking into walls while you text, maybe you should take that as a sign?

It also blows my mind at the places where people are glued to their phones. On a subway platform, waiting for a train? That makes sense. After you’ve shelled out good money to watch a baseball game or a movie? I don’t get it. Next time you’re at a restaurant, look around and see how many people who are on a date or are out with family and friends are far more engaged with whatever is happening on Facebook than what’s going on in real life. And don’t get me started on the parents who take their kids to a fun place like an amusement park or a children’s museum only to completely ignore everything their kids do while they’re there.

Look, social media is a wonderful thing. Sometimes you just gotta check your work email. Or send a quick text. Or check the weather, or directions, or a movie time. The technology we have access to at all times is amazing, but sometimes it feels like it’s just as much a blessing as it is a curse.

Remember what the humans of the future look like in WALL-E? They’re all incredibly fat, carried everywhere on scooters, and forever staring at their personal screens. That movie takes place in 2805, but sometimes I wonder if that will be our reality much sooner than that.