Jargon watch: smartphone zombie

Digital engagement

Hong Kong was the first place that I had every been where on the mass transit system specifically warns you to not look over intently at your phone and pay sufficient attention to riding the escalator.

Over 80 per cent of Hongkongers between the ages of 15 and 34 own a smartphone; so South China Morning Post‘s article about the perils of smartphone zombies roaming around seemed appropriate.

A smartphone zombie is someone cocooned in their own world of mobile social updates, email or games who  is distracted in walking or travelling on public transport.

The Cantonese for the phenomenon is dai tau juk or ‘head down tribe’.  It would be wrong to portray this as a purely a Hong Kong phenomena, with articles covering it in China, the US and Japan over the past year alone.

The US talked about it in terms of an addiction, whereas coverage of China, Japan and Hong Kong looked at it as being broadly anti-social behaviour.

More information
Beware the smartphone zombies blindly wandering around Hong Kong | SCMP (paywall)
Japan’s smartphone ‘zombies’ turn urban areas into human pinball | Japan Times
Putting Smartphone Zombies In Their Place | TechCrunch
How your smartphone is turning you into a zombie | The Tennessean