The Mobile phone, many would argue, was created to bring people closer with the place and time notwithstanding. Interestingly though the smartphone era is creating new barriers where none existed.

Mobile phones have invaded every aspect of our lives and they continue to extend the scope of what it could do for us. From being a simple phone it now is our point and shoot camera, organizer, personal PC, radio, music player, GPS device, gaming console and many more. Undoubtedly it still continues to be the device to call friends and be reached on.

So this device that was meant to breakdown barriers, how is it creating new ones? The answer lies in the behavior most of us might have either observed or demonstrated when faced with an unfavorable or uncomfortable situation. Typical example would be Lifts, Corridor, Public Transport or Public spaces. The 3.5″ or more of smartphone screen provides sufficient space to hide and avoid eye contact or conversation in many situations, almost akin to cat drinking milk.

Want to avoid conversation with strangers, want to avoid conversation with people you don’t like, want to avoid eye contact, forgot somebody’s name, shy to start a conversation; lose yourself in the phone and create an invisible barrier that many would find tough to break. Adding a pair of headphones would further strengthen the invisible barrier almost making it impossible to breach for anyone.

So it is not uncommon now a days to see people getting into lift or public transport and instinctively reaching for their phone and tap the screen with focus and intent like there’s a treasure waiting to be found. The moment they are out of the situation the phone would be promptly put away like a hot trail gone cold. So, there was this guy, regular to the gym I go. He would come to the gym and immediately take out his phone and start searching for something. His favorite exercise machine was the stationary cycle as that allowed him the option to continue to search for whatever he wanted to search on his phone while burning a few calories. Sometimes I thought he burnt more calories in his pursuit on the phone than the cycling. The searching on the phone wouldn’t stop till he went to the shower room. However the objective of avoiding eye contact or the need to say a hi or all such uncomfortable situation was avoided with the strategic search tactic on the phone.

I would invite you observe yourself and others around you and notice when such interesting behavior is demonstrated. Hope you have fun with it!