Matt Niswonger
Latest posts by Matt Niswonger (see all)

Are We Slaves to our Smartphones?


According to the popular website, the average cell phone user checks his or her cell phone 150 times per day. This includes talking on the phone, instant messaging, web browsing, facebook and email. No one knows exactly how much time we spend on our smart phones, but what’s certain is that just in the last decade the cellphone has evolved from a tool for calling people into a constant companion that demands our attention.

These days, for the most part it’s socially acceptable to walk around in public while staring at an iPhone screen. Yes, it’s frowned upon, but we all do it. I’ve even seen people walk right into a crosswalk while completely absorbed in a text and remain oblivious to whether or not cars are stopping for them. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve done this very thing myself.

Making a quick phone call is one thing, but it can’t be healthy to spend so much of our lives obsessed with a little screen we carry in our pockets. Ever seen the movie Lord of the Rings? Do you remember how creepy it was when Gollum said the ring was “precious” to him? Doesn’t this metaphor describe perfectly how we treat our cellphones?

On a deeper level, what our phone habits reveal is a collective desire to stay connected to our digital world at all times. According to the Huffington Post and AAA California, texting while driving is actually up 126% since being outlawed in 2009 (, and statistics are quite clear that texting while driving leads to accidents. Yes we all agree it’s potentially dangerous, but most of us are doing it anyways.

Frankly, we are addicted to our phones, and it’s time to question why we feel the need to split our attention between the real world and the digital world.

If you agree with this, then maybe its fate that you picked up this issue of Adventure Sports Journal and started reading these words. In fact, maybe you will read an article in this very issue that will inspire you so much it will set you on a path that will change your life for the better. As corny as it sounds, that’s actually our mission statement: to inspire people to “take one step in the direction of Shangri-La.”

ASJ # 79 is all about hard charging, water-based activities that require physical and mental stamina—sports that require you to put down your phone and commit 100% of your attention to your immediate surroundings.

For while filmmaker Kyle Thiermann would love it if you checked out his latest YouTube video, he will also tell you that the reason he cares so much about the ocean is because he grew up actually surfing–not just watching videos about it.

Thanks for reading!

— Matt Niswonger