The comedian Paul Merton has suggested that he enjoys deliberately standing in the way of youngsters who walk down the street looking at their phones.
Merton, 66, said he is bewildered by those who don’t take a moment to savour the real world and is upset that many younger people experience life looking through screens rather than enjoying it with their own eyes.
Merton, a longstanding panelist on Have I Got News For You, said: “You see young people sort of walking down the street looking at their phones as they’re walking down it, not looking where they’re going. If they’re smaller than me, I just stand in their way.
“It doesn’t make any difference – I mean, are they going to spend their entire life walking down the street looking at their mobile?”
‘You’re not experiencing it at all’
Merton was particularly dismayed when he saw youngsters strolling in the English countryside, failing to appreciate their surroundings.
“I saw during the summer we were walking through this beautiful field in Kent, there’s distant sea views, blue sky, and there was a young couple probably in their late teens walking towards us arm in arm. And both of them were looking at their mobile phone.
“I am thinking what are you looking at? And the other thing that gets me is when you see New Year’s Eve fireworks on the BBC and people are standing there, holding up their phones, filming it, I mean, on a three-inch screen.
“You’re not experiencing it at all, because watching it through a three-inch screen is not going to be that impressive. You are there.”
He added: “I remember the first time I saw this was before mobile phones. I went on safari about 20, 30 years ago. And it was a guy who had a video camera, it was videoing everything, but he wasn’t experiencing it because seeing it through a camera is the same way that you’re seeing it through a phone.
“So you’ve got a memory of something that you never experienced. So it’s not a memory. It’s a record of what you missed.”