A warning to anyone who uses a phone on a hike, a run, or any other kind of outdoor activity: You will be judged. In an essay at Outside, Marissa Stephenson writes that it’s time for the tech shaming to stop. Stephenson listens to podcasts when she runs, and she recounts a more experienced runner asking with a definite attitude, “You need that stuff to run?” It made her feel a little guilty at first, but now she wonders, “Why was running in silence the right way?” The anti-tech sentiment is probably more pronounced on hiking trails, as evidenced by the online posts of people mocking anyone they come across on the trail looking at a phone.
“We’ve all seen and heard the self-righteous and judgy looks, comments, and social-media posts about the way people use technology outside,” writes Stephenson. But what about women who use hiking apps for safety or text friends to let them know when they’ve hit certain spots, for the same reason? But it shouldn’t matter why people are using tech outside; it’s their business, so stop telling them to find their “inner compass,” writes Stephenson. What’s worse is that those getting shamed are often newbies relying on tech to help learn the ropes. “At best, these judgments suck,” writes Stephenson. “At worst, they’re making people less likely to get outside.” (Read the full column.)