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Phone zombie illustration: pedestrians turned zombies staring into their phones run into danger and bump into each other while crossing a road

Phone zombie

A phone zombie is a regular pedestrian turned zombie walker because they’re busy staring at their phone.

Sometimes it’s hard not to be a phone zombie—whether it’s a notification about where you’re about to meet, a message about something you just finished at work, texting to say you’re on your way home, a sudden thought to look something up, reading a weekly newsletter, or maybe it’s just switching the podcast. On a long, quiet street on my commute, I’ve also read a book while walking. There are so many reasons why it’s easy to turn into a phone zombie walking unthinkingly down the street.

Once, while waiting for a crossing light to change and checking train times on my phone, I noticed the people around me starting to cross. Taking my cue, I began to walk too, only realising a few steps later, with a car bearing down on me, that the light hadn’t changed to signal it was ok to cross. I’ve also seen people walk into cyclists, a near miss with a bus driving close to the curb, and someone tripping and falling. Take care, and don’t let it be you!

Also known as smartphone zombies, smombie for short, or zombie pedestrians.

You can get a printed gift of phone zombies, but as zombies aren't that nice to look at, I also made a friendlier version of phone zombies

Also see: continuous partial attentionwhen drinking tea and phubbing

You’re welcome to use and share this image and text for non-commercial purposes with attribution. Go wild!
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