Social Phenomenon: Are You Still a “Smartphone Zombie”?
By Yang Yang
One day, I read a popular saying online that went something like this, “The farthest place in the world isn’t on the opposite side of the globe, it’s when I’m right in front of you while you play with your phone.” Indeed. No matter if you’re on the subway, on the bus, in a restaurant, on a major street or a little alley, we will always see such people, the “smartphone zombies.” They have a phone, tablet, or some other gadget in their hand as they watch videos, play games, or look at social media, and they are primarily young people.
As technology has advanced, the internet has made some things in our lives much more convenient. You can find all sorts of things on online marketplaces so that we don’t even have to leave the house to buy whatever we want. There’s all sorts of news and information, plus an incredible variety of films and videos—too much for anyone to watch. Not only can it satisfy our curiosity, but it can fill up every spare moment in our day. There are also all sorts of chatting apps and social media platforms so we can connect with people all over the world from the comfort of our own homes. But behind all this convenience, what does the internet bring to us? Let’s take a look at some relevant reports.
Ms. Yue really likes to go online. She says that she spends a lot of time shopping online every day, often staying up until 1–2 in the morning, sometimes even until 6 in the morning. The next day at work she’s falling asleep at her desk. She’s often reprimanded by her superiors for this. And since chatting apps came out she’ll also stay up late into the night using those, leaving her half-dead from exhaustion. Even so, she still can’t bear to put her phone away and get some rest. Over time her memory has significantly deteriorated, she’s developed neck problems, and always has dark circles around her eyes. She’s aged considerably. Her husband sees her constantly on her phone and feels dissatisfied with her and says that she’s losing herself in these online activities.
Mr. Wang’s nephew is 14 years old. He used to be a really good kid, but ever since he became obsessed with his smartphone, it’s always in his hand even when he’s eating or sleeping. His eyesight has kept getting worse and he hardly ever talks. He even secretly used his dad’s credit card twice to buy add-ons for his favorite games, a total of 10,000 yuan in charges. When his father found out, the boy still stubbornly refused to admit it.
There are countless other cases just like Ms. Yue and Mr. Wang’s nephew. According to a psychological survey conducted by Capital Normal University, 77% of people have their mobile phones turned on for more than 12 hours a day; 33.55% have them turned on 24 hours a day; 65% say “I feel some anxiety when my mobile phone isn’t next to me,” and more than 90% feel they can’t live without their phones. The very first thing these “smartphone zombies” do when they wake up every day is to look at their mobile phones, and they always check their mobile phones before they go to bed. They spend their days refreshing sites like Twitter or Reddit, watching their social media feeds, and playing online games.
These “smartphone zombies” are completely immersed in the online world. They experience all the sensations the internet brings them as if all the people, matters, and things around them no longer existed. They gradually lose direction in their lives, and the distance between them and other people grows. They focus solely on being “smartphone zombies,” looking only at their mobile phones while ignoring the people around them, and erecting a thick barrier to prevent any exchanges between themselves and others. In the long run, although they seem to interact frequently and intensely with their friends on the internet, their real-life relationships with people become ever-more narrow and closed off, and their ability to socialize withers; in serious cases they become socially unskilled or awkward. For example, there are some children who become listless and downcast as soon as they go to school and don’t speak with their classmates, but their eyes light up the moment they get online, and they’re invigorated. They’re not interested in school or in life, and they really don’t consider their future—the only thing they care about is playing games. There are some couples who are busy at work all day, and then after coming home just bury their noses in their phones playing games or chatting. As time goes on, husband and wife no longer share a common language, and they live as strangers under the same roof. Not only that, but many people are constantly clutching their mobile phones or tablets while walking down the street, making major accidents caused by looking at their phones a common occurrence. For example, one young girl was walking along the street just looking at her phone, and as a result, she missed a step and got her leg stuck in a manhole. Power tools had to be used to cut open the manhole cover and free her leg. There was also a young mother who got onto an elevator while looking at her phone instead of her 2-year-old daughter, who then fell into the elevator shaft and died. Another young woman was walking along the shore of a lake while playing with her phone and then fell into the lake…. We can see that the issue of “smartphone zombies” is no ordinary social problem, but is one that impacts and threatens people’s lives and work, and it shouldn’t be underestimated. What’s really baffling is that so many people have heard of the dangers of being a “smartphone zombie,” or have even personally experienced them, so why are they still so enamored with their phones? What’s the real reason that they disregard everything else and continue on that way? What will the long-term consequences be?
Just at the moment when I was overcome by this problem, I accepted the work of Almighty God in the last days. In God’s words, I finally found the answer. Almighty God says: “We only wish to talk about the ideas that social trends bring about for people, the way they cause people to conduct themselves in the world, the life goals and outlook that they bring about in people. These are very important; they can control and influence man’s state of mind. One after another, all these trends carry an evil influence that continually degenerates man, causing them to continually lose conscience, humanity and reason, and that lowers their morals and their quality of character more and more, to the extent that we can even say the majority of people now have no integrity, no humanity, neither do they have any conscience, much less any reason. So what are these trends? You cannot see these trends with the naked eye. When the wind of a trend blows through, perhaps only a small number of people will become the trendsetters. They start off doing this kind of thing, accepting this kind of idea or this kind of perspective. The majority of people, however, in the midst of their unawareness, will still be continually infected, assimilated and attracted by this kind of trend, until they all unknowingly and involuntarily accept it, and are all submerged in and controlled by it. For man who is not of sound body and mind, who never knows what is truth, who cannot tell the difference between positive and negative things, these kinds of trends one after another make them all willingly accept these trends, the life view and values that come from Satan. They accept what Satan tells them on how to approach life and the way to live that Satan ‘bestows’ on them. They have not the strength, neither do they have the ability, much less the awareness to resist” (“God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“Do these social trends have a big influence on people? Do they have a deeply harmful effect on people? (Yes.) A very deeply harmful effect on people. Satan uses one of these social trends after another to corrupt man’s what? (Conscience, reason, humanity, morals, and view on life.) Do they cause a gradual degeneration in people? Satan uses these social trends to lure people one step at a time into a nest of devils, so that people caught up in social trends unknowingly advocate money and material desires, as well as advocate wickedness and violence. Once these things have entered man’s heart, what then does man become? Man becomes the devil Satan! This is because of what psychological leaning in the heart of man? What does man advocate? Man begins to like wickedness and violence. They do not like beauty or goodness, much less peace. People are not willing to live the simple life of normal humanity, but instead wish to enjoy high status and great wealth, to revel in the pleasures of the flesh, sparing no effort to satisfy their own flesh, with no restrictions, no bonds to hold them back, in other words doing whatever they desire. … In this way, man becomes more and more evil, arrogant, condescending, selfish, and malicious. There is no longer any affection between people, no longer any love between family members, no longer any understanding between relatives and friends” (“God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“Satan corrupts man at all times and at all places. Satan makes it impossible for man to defend against this corruption and makes man helpless to it. Satan makes you accept its thoughts, its viewpoints and the evil things that come from it in situations where you are unwitting and when you have no recognition of what’s happening to you. People fully accept these things and take no exception to them. They cherish and hold these things like a treasure, they let these things manipulate them and toy with them, and this is how Satan’s corruption of man becomes deeper and deeper” (“God Himself, the Unique V” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Almighty God’s words fully reveal the root of the development of these “smartphone zombies”—they are so attached to their phones because of Satan’s trickery! Satan gives rise to all sorts of societal trends that mislead, constrain, and benumb people, luring them into debauchery and depravity. They then become deeply entrenched and are unable to extricate themselves. Just like the internet, which Satan gave rise to—men and women, young and old alike are nearly all obsessed with it to the point that they can hardly control themselves. Countless young people become so enamored with online games that it impacts their studies and jobs; some even drop out of school or stop going to work. Online games poison people so much that they lose hold of normal humanity, becoming depraved and depressed; they simply become something other than human. Some become addicted to online shopping and buy whatever they see, becoming ever-more greedy and superficial; they spend money like it’s water. Online shopping really stimulates and provokes people’s extravagant desires, and they just can’t bring themselves to stop. Some people become addicted to online dating—their lives are full of promiscuity and corruption and they become more and more evil. Online dalliances have ruined so many formerly warm and harmonious families, depriving countless innocent children of intact homes. And so many casualties have occurred from people constantly playing with their mobile phones, leaving behind wounds that can never be healed. These evil trends that have sprung up from Satan are corroding our very souls so that before we know it, we become enamored with evil and lust for things of the flesh; we’re all entranced within the virtual world, pursuing entirely illusory things. We become more and more fed up with real life and no longer have any proper goals that we should pursue. We’ve become more and more selfish and toxic, gradually losing our consciences and reason, and losing hold of normal humanity. People being constantly lost in the online world not only hinders them academically and career-wise, but it also impacts their normal day-to-day lives, and does direct damage to them. Everyone in the world is now enveloped in this evil trend given rise to by Satan. This negative thing that comes from Satan has been accepted, grabbed hold of, and employed as something positive by everyone. Especially those born in the 80s, 90s, and 00s are hooked on the internet as if it were opium. These things are already firmly in control of people’s thoughts and they absolutely cannot extricate themselves. It’s clear that Satan’s deception and temptations are the real reason for the development and spread of “smartphone zombies.” This kind of evil trend is unquestionably a poison with which we are slowly killing ourselves. It is leading us into the abyss and to death one step at a time.
Though Satan may be using all sorts of evil trends to mislead and corrupt us, God has never stopped quietly working to save us, and is always concerned for us. Without God’s care and protection we would be swallowed up by wave after wave of Satan’s evil trends. Almighty God’s word says, “I am mankind’s only salvation. I am mankind’s only hope and, even more, I am He on whom the existence of all mankind rests. Without Me, mankind will immediately come to a complete standstill. Without Me, mankind will suffer catastrophe and be trodden down by all manner of ghosts, even though no one takes heed of Me” (“Prepare Sufficient Good Deeds for Your Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Because the essence of God is holy, that means that only through God can you walk the bright, right road through life; only through God can you know the meaning of life, only through God can you live out a real life, possess the truth, know the truth, and only through God can you obtain life from the truth. Only God Himself can help you shun evil and deliver you from the harm and control of Satan. Besides God, no one and nothing can save you from the sea of suffering so that you suffer no longer: This is determined by the essence of God. Only God Himself saves you so selflessly, only God is ultimately responsible for your future, for your destiny and for your life, and He arranges all things for you. This is something that nothing created or non-created can achieve” (“God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). We were created by God, and God bestows sunlight, air, food and all things required for human life upon us. He also works and speaks among us, providing us with guidance and sustenance, saving us, giving us the truth, and teaching us how we should live and how to be good people. He tells us how to live a life of meaning and value. As long as we come before God and read His words in earnest to understand the truth, we’ll be able to discern Satan’s tactics for corrupting mankind and see into Satan’s evil essence of toying with and destroying people. We’ll understand the danger and consequences of following satanic evil trends and thus have the ability to reject Satan and fully cast off the harm it does. We can then live within God’s care and blessings. Just as Almighty God says: “I urge the people of all nations, countries, and even industries to listen to the voice of God, to behold the work of God, to pay attention to the fate of mankind, thus making God the most holy, the most honorable, the highest, and the only object of worship among mankind, and allowing the whole of mankind to live under the blessing of God, just as the descendants of Abraham lived under the promise of Jehovah, and just as Adam and Eve, who were originally made by God, lived in the Garden of Eden” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).