One of the most delightfully and current new phrases to describe obsessive smartphone users in the last few years is the Chinese term “dī tóu zú”, which translated into English means the “bowed-head tribe”.
According to a recent survey released by the National Bureau of Statistics Shanghai Investigation Team, half of the people polled now regard themselves members of the “bowed-head tribe”. They are people who spend much of their life with heads bowed and eyes fixed on their smartphones. There is also a Japanese expression for obsessive smartphone users which is “oyayubizoku” meaning the “clan of the thumbs”. This expression was first coined to describe teenagers who are better at text messaging than talking. There are two Western terms which are the equivalent to members of the “bowed-head tribe” or the “clan of the thumbs” which are “Phubber” and “Smombie” neither of which is quite so charming. What is a Phubber? The art of snubbing people by looking at your smartphone rather than engaging them in conversation is known as “Phubbing”. Short for “phone snubbing”.
Phubbers are closely attached to their digital screens and get their news, watch movies, book tickets, play games and communicate with others with their smartphone devices. They can be young or old, male or female. Phubbers are basically people that would rather have an interactive experience via their smartphone device other than engaging with people next to them directly in conversation i.e. talking to each other face to face. Extreme “Phubbing” During Dinner with Friends 2017 – Everyone Looks So Happy A “Pre-Phubbing” Dinner with Friends 1997 – So Very Nice- Happy Days Phubbing is also used as a self defence mechanism to avoid a person that you do not like coming to join you while you are having a quiet drink on the beach let’s say. As soon as you see the person approaching you start “Phubbing” meaning starting to look very busy on your mobile phone, head down and thereby avoiding eye contact.
The above type of Phubbing is probably just normal human behaviour. However, if you decide to meet up with friends for a drink or a meal and a good old chat and someone in the group decides to start Phubbing then this is totally unacceptable behaviour. The Phubber is basically saying that it is more important for me to do stuff on my smartphone rather than to talk to you or look you in the eye.
What is a Smombie? A more sinister derogatory term than being labelled as a Phubber is to be called a “Smombie”, If you are a Phubber there is a good chance that you will also be a Smombie. It is short for “smartphone zombie” and used to describe a mindlessly strolling pedestrian whose attention is consumed by their smartphone device and who are oblivious to their surroundings and who have lost all sense of situational awareness. Warning Sign for Car Drivers in Holland that they are entering a Smombie Zone Such Smombies are at serious risk of tripping over curbs, bumping into other walkers or walking out in front of cars resulting in loss of life. The field of vision of a smartphone user is estimated to be just 5% of a normal pedestrian’s.
Please report all “phubbers” or “smombies” immediately to the local authorities.