Smartphone users have become "human snails carrying their homes in their pockets", tending to ignore their friends and family to deal with their smartphone, according to an important study.
A team of anthropologists from UCL spent more than a year documenting smartphone use in nine countries around the world, from Ireland to Cameroon, and found that it was not a trivial game but people felt exactly the same way about it. their appliances as well as for their homes.
"The smartphone is no longer just a device we use, but it has become where we live," said Professor Daniel Miller, who led the study. "The other side of this for human relations is that at any point, whether during a meal, a meeting or other joint activity, a person can disappear after using his smartphone and going home."
This phenomenon led to the "death of closeness" in terms of face-to-face interaction, he said.
If there's a specific reason for this change, researchers say it could be chatting apps like WhatsApp, which they call the "heart of the smartphone". "For many users, an app now represents the most important thing a smartphone does for them" - LINE in Japan, for example, WeChat in China and WhatsApp in Brazil.
"These applications are the platforms where siblings come together to care for elderly parents, proud parents send endless photos of their babies and immigrants reconnect with their families. "They are the means by which you can be active grandparents even if you live in another country."
Contrary to many studies on smartphone use, the study focused on older adults, "those who think they are neither young nor old."
"At first, an emphasis on older adults may seem strange because we are used to focusing on youth," the researchers wrote. "However, this focus has helped to take the smartphone study out of any particular demographic so that it can be considered that represents the ανθρωπότητα in its entirety."
Even with this particular focus, researchers believe that smartphones around the world are a basic necessity: "The smartphone is perhaps the first object to challenge the home itself (and possibly the workplace"in terms of how much time we spend on it while waking up", they conclude, defining the term "mobile home" to describe the result. We are always "at home". We have become human snails that we carry our house in our pockets. ”
The researchers also describe how this "home" can be far from being a place of rest, with communication work and social media having invaded our lives for good.
But Miller presented another completely different side of the research: "The smartphone helps us create and recreate a wide range of useful behaviors, from rebuilding large families to creating new spaces for health care and political debate," he said. "Only by researching the very different uses and contexts can we fully understand the implications of smartphones for the lives of people around the world."
Source of information: theguardian.com