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Screen thrall: Are you under its spell?

Woodward
Woodward acknowledges his audience.

How many times have you futzed with your phone to avoid making eye contact with someone passing you on the sidewalk?

Gary Woodward, professor of communication studies, coins this behavior “screen thrall”—the habit people have of looking at their cell phones as they approach another person.

What used to be an averted gaze when approaching someone now involves a technological distraction, making us even more unavailable for face-to-face interaction.

“A practical and ironic effect of using a mobile device is that it now works as a tool not just for connection, but also isolation,” Woodward writes.

Read more about The Necessity of Acknowledgment in Woodward’s blog.

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