Smartphones: An extensive survey of smartphone users by 11 anthropologists in various countries around the world for 16 months was released in early May. The conclusion was that these smart phones have become a technology for people of all ages, and are now more than devices, but “the place where we live”.
Published by UCL Press of University College London, England, the study was called “The Global Smartphone: beyond a young technology”. For its authors, smartphones have transformed us into “human snails carrying our houses in their pockets”, preferring the device to friends and family.
To explain a concept of something that is literally in front of our noses, the 11 anthropologists lived for a year and four months in communities in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America, focusing mainly on the use of smartphones by older adults , “Those who consider themselves neither young nor elderly”.
Together but isolated
To The Guardian, the study’s lead author, Professor Daniel Miller, said the conclusion that our cell phones are where we live is based on the fact that, “at any time, whether during a meal, a meeting or other shared activity , a person we are with can simply disappear, having ‘gone home’ with his smartphone ”.
This phenomenon, called by anthropologists “death of proximity” makes us feel socially, emotionally and professionally isolated, even though we are physically together. And the main responsible for this situation are the chat apps, such as LINE in Japan, WeChat in China and WhatsApp in Brazil.
Another conclusion is that, when using our smartphones as basic necessities, we are always “at home”, staying at work or at school even after we leave. For this reason, the researchers coined the term “carrier house”, which compares our devices to snail shells.