An Australian non-profit has struck a small blow against the pervasive use of smartphones. For five hours on Sunday morning, people around the world stopped using their phones to text, call, email or browse the Internet. How many participated in “Moodoff Day” on February 26th may never be known, but organizers say they had supporters in 20 countries, including the United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore and the United States. And they say they’re just getting started.
“We are very happy with the response to the first Moodoff Day,” said founder Tapas Senapati, a self confessed smartphone addict. “We had not anticipated to reach people in 20 countries. This just confirms that there is growing concern for smartphone addiction and its impact on our lives around the globe.”
Senapati hopes the success of the first Moodoff Day will help spread awareness. “We see this year’s event merely as the launch and anticipate our following to grow over the coming months with a considerably bigger event to take place in 2013,” Senapati told American News Report.
Australian author Amanda Cox was one of the first to pledge her support for Moodoff Day, saying, “I realized I had a problem when I responded to a joke my husband told me with ‘LOL’ instead of laughing.”
But how young people view Moodoff Day and the phenomenon of smartphones in general varies widely. “I think there’s an increased reliance on smartphones,” 20-year-old Sean Kris said. “People become attached to the comfort of having everything they can possibly imagine at their fingertips, courtesy of Steve Jobs.” The California college student counts himself as one of those people, as he’s been a devotee of Apple’s iPhone for several years, a device he estimates he spends two hours on every day.
Kris questions the value of Moodoff Day and avoiding smartphones for a handful of hours on a Sunday morning. “From 5 am to 10 am? I’m not even awake at that time!” Kris said. “That’s like saying don’t lie down for five hours. What does it change? You’re not saving the planet. All it’s affecting is you. It’s such an isolated event.”
21-year-old Android owner Daniel Kulick is quick to defend the growth of new technology. “The rise of smartphones is not any different from the natural progression of technology,” he said. “Imagine what people were thinking when the telephone was invented, or the television for that matter. These are two things that dramatically changed the way humans interact across the world, and to think smartphones are becoming any more of an addiction than those two is just unrealistic.”
While it may seem like everyone is in on the smartphone craze, there are those that continue to resist. 22-year-old Kevin Paredes, says a majority of his peers use smart phones. “But there’s also a number that’s not so tiny of people that don’t have nor want smartphones,” Paredes said. “I don’t have a smartphone because with my phone, I expect to be able to call and receive calls with the added luxury of texting. Not every young person is as techno savvy as everyone wants to believe.”
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