What You Are Missing While Being A Digital Zombie: Patrik Wincent (Transcript)

Patrik Wincent at TEDxStockholm

Full text of psychotherapist Patrik Wincent’s talk: What You Are Missing While Being A Digital Zombie at TEDxStockholm conference. In this talk, Patrik takes us on a journey through his own Internet addiction, and gives us valuable tips to avoid becoming digital zombies.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: What you are missing while being a digital zombie by Patrik Wincent


Patrik Wincent – Psychotherapist

So before I start, I would like everybody to take out their phones. Pick it up and then give it to the person on the left or the right. It doesn’t matter which one as long as you don’t have your own phone on you.

And don’t worry, you’re all going to get your phones back. So don’t worry about it. OK.

So now put your phones back into your pockets. And take a deep breath…

Welcome to the Old World.

So this is me being an Indian. I grew up in the south of Sweden and I loved playing cowboys and Indians. I thought it was great fun.

And I lived where there was a lot of nature; used to ride bikes and skateboard. And this goes out to the younger generation. We hardly had any technology at all. We had one TV and two channels. And we had a phone stuck on the wall. And sometimes when it rang, we didn’t even answer the phone.

And I know is shocking, but it is true.

And then computers came into my life, such as Atari and Commodore 64. And I was blown away. And the old world, as I knew it, was gone.

And this is my son. And yes, I must admit that I am, too, guilty of letting him play video games in their early age. And I thought it was both convenient as well. It was great fun.

And looking back into my younger adulthood, I could see that I often escaped into the virtual world. Back then, I had my son only on the weekends. And every time we went outside, I always had one eye on my phone and the other one trying to interact with my son.

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And we did spend time together: Playing video games, most of the time.

And he could come up to me sometimes to say, can we go outside and play? And I said, yes, but not now, because I needed maybe to level up on some game or I needed to work.

So I created this perfect electronic babysitter by just placing him in front of a computer and my problems were solved.

So actually, we have to take a look about the things that we see as a problem. And four things.

So what do you think about a baby who have yet not learned how to speak, but knows easily how to incorporate an iPad?

Studies shown by Hilda Kabali shows that 30% of children under the age of two knows easily how to use an iPad but haven’t yet learned how to speak. And also, the age between 0 to 2, the brain doubles in size and continues to grow until they become 25 years.

So early brain development is dependent on which environment and which surroundings we’re in.

And also, studies have shown that three, four year olds easily knows how to control an iPad having rhetorical difficulties by grasping objects such as blocks, pen and a paper.

So what is a mobile zombie?

Well, actually, we see them every day. They are the ones that is looking at their phones; you know, in front of them walking and bumping into each other’s, bumping into trees, bumping into walls.

My son and I, you know, we spend a lot of times together and he really loved playing table tennis. I remember this one time he entered this huge tournament. And I was sitting at the bench cheering, supposedly. But I was pretty much just staring down at my phone.

And he did really good at this tournament. He actually came to the finals. And he was about to meet this very tough opponent. And he started playing and the score was even and he had two points to win.

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And I felt a vibration in my pocket and I had to take up my phone to see what was happening. And something new had happened on Facebook. And I really needed to check it out.

And I hear the crowd is sharing. And I looked up from my phone to see what was happening. And it was as if everything was in slow motion. Everybody’s surrounding my son to congratulate him because he had just won the whole tournament.

But what I sadly see is that he’s looking at me with these sad eyes, knowing that I missed watching him win the last ball that made him the champion of this tournament. Just because I was too busy looking down at my phone all the time.

And I could really feel his pain of me not being present in this very moment. And for the whole day, it did not even want to speak to me again.

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