The new buzzwords

Call it Digibesity, Mal de Coucou or OCUD, I often wonder if it is not worse than COVID-19.
Like for the dreaded virus we face now, this mobile virus has a few names:

Digibesitas (Dutch) or “Digibesity” for our English readers.
Cellfish: Those who continue to talk on their cell phone, oblivious to the effect on others around them.
Nomophobia: refers to the fear of being without your mobile phone or without a cellular or WIFI signal.
OCUD (Obsessive cell phone use disorder) describes a person who continually talks on their cell phone or checks updates on mobile apps in public, while driving, meeting friends or eating in a restaurant. Or going to a classical concert. Mal de Coucou is a new buzzword, says China Daily: “Describes a phenomenon in which a person has an active social life but very few close friends”.

The plague of the new era

I already published a few posts with some hilarious (not sure this is the right word!) pics and cartoons:

Digibesity books and articles: https://www.beijing1980.com/2017/04/06/digibesity-books-articles/

Digibesity can harm, and kill you: https://www.beijing1980.com/2017/04/04/digibesity-can-harm-kill/

Digibesity the new social plague: https://www.beijing1980.com/2017/04/04/digibesity-the-new-social-plague/

Do you suffer from OCUD or Mal de Coucou? https://www.beijing1980.com/2015/12/03/do-you-suffer-from-ocud-or-mal-de-coucou/

Call me old-fashioned

You can, but I don’t care. However, do note I am also hours on my mobile, plus desktop where I am active on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and a few others. I stopped Instagram, not that interesting. Livestreaming for foreigners in China is totally forbidden. Can’t use the app Douyin and always failed to activate TikTok. Well, maybe not missing that much.

But I hate to sit with “friends” at a restaurant when they have more interest in their mobiles (and making stupid selfies), and people walking, biking and even driving glued to their mobile screens. They totally ignore the real world around them and are only alive in their artificial world.
I love to walk around and see what’s around me. And enjoying my food. BTW be aware it is bad for your health to eat AND look at your screens at the same time.

I miss the pre-mobile era

Looking at an old VHS of Madonna public performances (she is one of the greatest performers), one interesting aspect: no mobiles yet. People chatting with each other, not glued to their mobile, not taking pictures. The public during the shows actually is listening to the music and paying attention to the performers.
I miss that time.

When I was young we had no mobiles, only the fixed line at home that we had to share with the whole house. Privacy was often a problem so I learned to whisper in the phone to the annoyance of my parents. We survived very well, managed to meet and date, and have fun.

Love the pics

Here some more funny pics.


And a tell-all video:

More to come!

Digibesity books and articles

Alone Together

Digibesity books and articles: Alone Together, by Sherry Turkle
Sherry explores where technology is taking us and how society adapts to answer new questions brought on by the rise of mobile technologies, robots, computers, and other electronic gadgets. In particular, Turkle raises concerns about the way in which genuine, organic social interactions become degraded through constant exposure to illusory meaningful exchanges with artificial intelligence. Underlying Turkle’s central argument is the fact that the technological developments which have most contributed to the rise of inter-connectivity have at the same time bolstered a sense of alienation between people.
See more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherry_Turkle

Yes smartphones are useful

Of course the new  technologies are great and allow to do us so much and more efficiently. But they should remain tools and not replace our human life.
See this excellent article:
“Hooked on our smartphones”
By Jane E. Brody – 9 January 2017

The near-universal access to digital technology, starting at ever younger ages, is transforming modern society in ways that can have negative effects on physical and mental health, neurological development and personal relationships, not to mention safety on our roads and sidewalks.

“Why We Can’t Look Away From Our Screens”

Interview with author Adam Alter by Claudia Dreifus, 6 March 2017

In a new book, “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked,” the social psychologist Adam Alter warns that many of us — youngsters, teenagers, adults — are addicted to modern digital products. Not figuratively, but literally addicted.

More about the book:
Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked
by Adam Alter
Intro Barnes & Noble:
Welcome to the age of behavioral addiction—an age in which half of the American population is addicted to at least one behavior. We obsess over our emails, Instagram likes, and Facebook feeds; we binge on TV episodes and YouTube videos; we work longer hours each year; and we spend an average of three hours each day using our smartphones. Half of us would rather suffer a broken bone than a broken phone, and Millennial kids spend so much time in front of screens that they struggle to interact with real, live humans.
In this revolutionary book, Adam Alter, a professor of psychology and marketing at NYU, tracks the rise of behavioral addiction, and explains why so many of today’s products are irresistible. Though these miraculous products melt the miles that separate people across the globe, their extraordinary and sometimes damaging magnetism is no accident. The companies that design these products tweak them over time until they become almost impossible to resist.

Digibesity can harm, and kill you

Deadly crisis

Digibesity can harm but it is also a killer.
See earlier post: https://www.beijing1980.com/2017/04/04/digibesity-the-new-social-plague/

Looking at the impact of the automobile on U.S. society, some disturbing figures.
Every nine days 1,000 people in the USA are killed in automobile accidents (2016 figures). That is 40,000 deaths in one year. While enormous progress was made to make driving less dangerous, statistics show that in the past two years vehicle deaths started climbing again, and this by 14%.
The only plausible cause is texting, calling, watching and posting on their phones while driving. Examples abound.
Forget about those Muslim extremists in the USA: cars and guns are the big killers.
Even Belgian police warns for the smombies: the smartphone zombies. A research in six European capitals found that 17% of the pedestrians have a dangerous habit walking around and looking at their screens. The Dutch are the most careful, the Swede the most careless.

Are Teenagers Replacing Drugs With Smartphones?

By Matt Richtel – 13 March 2017
The new drug: smartphones?!

Amid an opioid epidemic, the rise of deadly synthetic drugs and the widening legalization of marijuana, a curious bright spot has emerged in the youth drug culture: American teenagers are growing less likely to try or regularly use drugs, including alcohol.
With minor fits and starts, the trend has been building for a decade, with no clear understanding as to why. Some experts theorize that falling cigarette-smoking rates are cutting into a key gateway to drugs, or that antidrug education campaigns, long a largely failed enterprise, have finally taken hold.
But researchers are starting to ponder an intriguing question: Are teenagers using drugs less in part because they are constantly stimulated and entertained by their computers and phones?

Chinese are for sure extreme users

Figures for 2016 indicate over 695 million Chinese accessed the Internet through their smartphone. WeChat had 768 million daily users. Waifi, sorry, Wi-Fi is everywhere.
Addiction has become a serious problem, as explained in China Daily:
“Screen Fiends”, 1 March 2017

It is the opium for the Chinese. A new prison.
OK, I admit I am also addicted to WeChat and often take a pic of the food. Must be a contagious disease. Or we can try the “Phone Stacking Game”.
The worst I have seen, close to my home, is a young girl driving a Porsche at an intersection, going through the red light while turning left, her TWO hands and upper body outside and taking a picture with her phone of a shopping center. How she did it without crashing into something I really don’t know. Maybe her sexy legs are helping with the steering.

The new age wedding

Not only is the definition of “kids playtime” different, so are weddings now:

Digibesity the new social plague


Digibesitas (Dutch) or “Digibesity” for our English readers
See here in Dutch: https://www.ensie.nl/redactie-ensie/digibesitas
“Digibesitas is de benaming voor een verslaving aan sociale media en de middelen die worden gebruikt om toegang te verkrijgen tot deze sociale media. Digibesitas kan net als andere verslavingen het dagelijkse leven van iemand volledig controleren.”
Or in English: Digibesity
“The term ‘digibesity’ mainly refers to the fact excessive use of messaging and/or social media can result to addiction or other psychological issues.”

The new plague

I already posted some cartoons about “Digibesity the new social plague” in this post:
“Do you suffer from OCUD or Mal de Coucou?”

Do you suffer from OCUD or Mal de Coucou?

And that is:
OCUD (Obsessive cell phone use disorder)
Mal de Coucou (describes a phenomenon in which a person has an active social life but very few close friends)

Zombies do not interact

I really hate this attitude that kills human interaction. Yes, I also use my iPhone to take pics, selfies and send them to friends but I also put the phone down to TALK with REAL people, look in their eyes, maybe hold their hand.
Worse is, it does not just kill human interaction, it can actually really KILL you. And for those victims, ran over by a car or something: I’d say, well done.
People now walk on the street as zombies, glued to their screen and miss all what is around them. I like walking at times so I can see more of the surroundings, on my bike I better watch out where I am going… And sitting somewhere, in a bar, in a waiting room or just outside I like to watch people passing by.
The zombies miss all that.

Cartoons and more

Some more great cartoons as well as pictures of how people now “connect and socialize”.

And for those who are totally addicted, a helping hand for hire:

Ask yourself: do you belong to the generation of idiots? Maybe, according to Einstein.

Do you suffer from OCUD or Mal de Coucou?


Do you suffer from OCUD or Mal de Coucou? OCUD (Obsessive cell phone use disorder) describes a person who continually talks on their cell phone or checks updates on mobile apps in public, while driving, meeting friends or eating in a restaurant. Or going to a classical concert. Mal de Coucou is a new buzzword, says China Daily: “Describes a phenomenon in which a person has an active social life but very few close friends”.

So, how are you doing?

I think mobiles have become a terrible plague. I am not sure but Chinese people might be the worst hit. One cannot understand how Chinese survived before the era of mobiles, when we had at best a fixed telephone and a fax. And of course TV and newspapers. I did never saw anybody going to the restaurant with a fax machine.
The result is that personal contact has deteriorated. Everybody is on the phone, does not pay attention to the people sitting around them. Generally speaking it worsens the attention span of people who have a real difficulty to focus. You send people a mail, they at most read the subject line and maybe the first line. Then they ask you for details that were already inside the mail. You ask to do research and the results are often poor. They write a report or mail and do not pay attention to spelling nor details. You have a discussion (or what seems to be a discussion) and they hear 20% of what you say. They are too busy on their phones.

Enjoying life? Oh… that is even worse. Eating out, no time to enjoy the food: time to make selfies, a pic of the dishes and quickly spread it over their social media. Sightseeing? They don’t see anything, do not enjoy the scenery as they are again busy with selfies, shooting pics and updating their social media. For a Chinese, sitting on a terrace and enjoying the people walking by must sound like a total waste of time.
One of the frustrations is going to a classical concert or ballet in China. People are totally inconsiderate, constantly on their phones, even talking. It feels like if we foreigners would do the same in a meeting in the Great Hall of The People. Imagine the Chinese “indignation”.
Even sex suffers. Who has time for it? Updates and messages must be checked immediately. No time for cuddling or something real nice. And the phones stay on all night, waking up people who then complain why contacts update their news in the middle of the night.
Not to be surprised the older generation suffers most. The children meet the parents or other family members but just remain glued to their screens. Nice dinner!

Mobiles in traffic and everywhere

In Beijing the rule in traffic is that driving a car mandates to keep an eye on the mobile, so if one turns right or left, no time to put on the signal and no time to look if cars, bicycles or pedestrians are in the way. Some drivers are pretty skilled to turn around while working on their phones and even smoking. That is all OK as you never see traffic police anyway. Pedestrians and bikers are no better. People walk in bike lanes, talking or texting on their phones and deaf to the warnings from bikers. Pedestrians cross streets glued to their screens. Bikers text while biking or riding their motorbike. I even once saw a guy riding his bike and reading his newspaper but that was a primitive specimen.
The fixations with drivers and their mobiles might also explain why Chinese drivers are so terrible: they do not connect with their cars and their environment as we do. Just look when they try to park their car. Or try a U-turn.
Another real annoyance is in the gym where people consider the machines comfortable chairs to keep busy with their phones while others want to use the machine. Consideration for others is not in the dictionary.
As for me? Well, I talk very very little on the phone and prefer SMS or WeChat messages. Yes, I keep a close eye on WeChat but I do not have 500 people I hardly know that want me to check what they are “doing”. Or any crap they want to tell the world. When I rest, stay in bed or sleep the phone is off.
And yes, I perfectly survive sitting on the beach, near a pool or in the mountains with no wifi and even no phone.
Why should we know what our 500 “friends” are eating, what their dog or cat is doing, what bag, shoes, beauty creams, … they just bought? Or one more selfie to show how cute or handsome they are?
Not interested. Except if it is from a real close friend and I then prefer to see it in person. And talk, without a cell in my hands. Otherwise I would be phubbing. No, it is not a spelling mistake: it is the new word for ignoring the person you are with in favor of your phone.

Here is an interesting video:


Have fun watching it.