I have often had this feeling that people fiddle with their mobile phones just to avoid talking to people or to avoid making eye contact. And I used to think I am an introvert.
According to this Bank of America Trends in Consumer Mobility Report 2016 (PDF), 40% people surveyed agreed that they use their mobile phone just to avoid talking to people. These are normally millennials. 25% of all the 1004 American adults surveyed admitted that they use their mobile phones exclusively to avoid people.
I don’t have to see the statistics to know that this actually happens. I have seen it while waiting for my daughter at her school bus stop, in the mall, at the cafeteria, on the pavements, within the building compound and even the community park where people bring their kids to play. They’re so busy fiddling with their phones that they don’t even pay attention to what their kids are doing.
I remember when I was small and parents use to get at the bus stop, they used to talk to each other. But these days, when I’m waiting for my daughter’s bus, almost all the parents are fiddling with their mobile phones. I mean, what are they constantly checking? What’s the messages? Twitter updates? Facebook updates? All the time? This is a sorry state of affairs.
We used to read in our civics book that the man (it also includes the woman) is a social animal. He has a need to interact, to communicate, to collaborate and to cohabit. I don’t know about collaboration and cohabitation but as far as interaction and communication go, the man definitely prefers his mobile phone to communicate with people who can communicate to him digitally rather than the ones who are standing right in front of him.
They are constantly checking their mobile phones with such intensity as if the skies are going to fall in case they miss a few messages. I’m pretty sure that, considering the fact that I have an online business and I have a considerable presence on Twitter and Facebook, I should be the one checking my mobile phone, at least more than the people standing around me, but I don’t. I prefer to stare at people (because nobody is talking) or just watch the traffic go by. They must think that I’m the most useless chap around, with nothing to do on my mobile phone.