The knee-jerk reaction to grab our smartphone whenever there's a moment of quiet can't be good for our brains, a TikToker is stating in a viral clip that's resonating with past generations who remember a time when it wasn't so bad.
Sam Andrews (@samueljeffersonandrews) went on a viral rant questioning our increasing dependence on smartphone usage and if it's potentially killing opportunities for real-world interactions with other people. His clip on the topic garnered 2.2 million views and sparked a conversation on the importance of boredom and how folks are isolating themselves from other human beings with prevalent smartphone usage and constant content consumption.
Sam begins his video by stating: "I think that this is the most in your face but you can't see it problem that we have as...as a generation here. So imagine that you're like walking somewhere and your waiting for somebody at the place that you're going."
The TikToker goes on to illustrate his very timely Dystopian scenario: "Chances are you are walking and within like 10 seconds you reach into your pocket and you pull out your phone and you go on like Instagram or TikTok or your photos app just like anything that will stop the boredom, just your mind roaming."
He goes on to opine that there is no way this sudden alleviation of boredom, which is always available to use, 24/7, within arm's reach can be good for humanity as a species: "Because you have nothing to think about or nothing to do, something to distract yourself."
Sam then questioned what life was like before smartphones began gobbling up people's attention at all hours of the day: "And then you get there and you're waiting for your friend and you do the same thing and you're just on your phone you're sitting there pretending like you're doing something quiet important. But before phones, what the f---?"
He continued his rant: "What did we do? We just walked. And we just sat. And we just looked around and thought and we're bored and spoke to the person next to us and just like that was part of life. It's dystopian that we've lost that part of life. But we do it every day as individuals."
Sam reflected on his own propensity for zoning out into the abyss of smartphone usage on a daily basis out of comfort: "I do it too because it's what feels best. It's what's most comfortable. We choose comfort because we're able to. Whether you're on the train, in an elevator, walking somewhere, waiting for a class to start, everybody is on their phones in their own world."
He adds that folks aren't just becoming oblivious to the world around them by staring into their smartphone screen, but that they experience self-inflicted audio isolation as well: "With their headphones on, me included, you included probably, it shuts down so many of the things that would have happened if you didn't have your phone out."
He then asked for the opinions of folks who disassociate from their phones or aren't checking it every minute or so: "For the people watching this who experience life without a phone: what do you think about this? Do you think it's as big an issue as I think it probably is? Um and how do you think we can solve this?"
Sam capped off his video by asking serial smartphone checkers: "And guys for you, for you all who actually have phones, do you agree that this is an issue? And how do you think we can solve it from your perspective?"
In the comments section of the video, Sam found a lot of like-minded individuals, like one person who wrote: "our phones have become our third place and i hate it"
Another person wrote that they lament all of the : "i think about this constantly. i’ll be in a group of strangers and think ab how much we all have in common if we would just talk"
Others said that they've made a conscious effort to try and stay off of their phones for set durations of time: "Sometimes I put my phone away and just look around at everyone else on their phones," one wrote while another penned, "I made it a challenge for myself to not take my phone out in these exact situations. It really makes you realize you’re the only one. EVERYONE else is"
Someone else also made a point about the importance boredom plays in human ingenuity and said that because people are no longer allowing themselves to be bored that this has had an adverse effect on the art humans have been creating as of late: "boredom is the source of creativity. the fact that nobody is bored is why our movies, architecture, and art are so bland now"
They're not the only person who feels this way: there have been studies that have delved into boredom and found a positive link to the creation of new ideas that can often stem from folks who drift off and daydream or try to combat their boredom once they're alone with their thoughts.