WHEN Raphael Valenti was walking through Sydney one day, there was one thing that especially caught his eye - everybody was looking at their phones.

The Brazilian copywriter, who admitted his native country's phone habits are just as bad as Australia's, decided to conduct a painful experiment - by running into them himself.

Over a period of three weeks, Raphael set out to "accidentally" hit people who were looking at their phones and was overwhelmed by the amount of people who actually had no idea what had just happened.

Raphael was bumped into countless times but edited his best whacks into a film called I'm Sorry - A Film About People Glued To Their Phones.

It's the best of the 100 or more bumps he dealt with and it exposes our phone habits like never before.


Despite Mr Valenti making it his mission to bump into people walking on their phones, he said people rarely even realised they were getting pranked.

"I thought people would realise and say sorry and a couple of them did but it was very rare. Most of them would look at me in a mean way or give me a dirty look like I was interrupting their obsession. None of them actually confronted me," he said.

Hilariously, Mr Valenti said a lot of people that bumped into him were even watching videos or TV series on their phones.

"A lot of them would shake their heads when they bumped into me because they'd lost five seconds of the movie they were watching. They'd have to go in and rewind what they'd lost." he said.

Raphael, the man who set out to prove how obsessed we are.
Raphael, the man who set out to prove how obsessed we are.

While the final footage of Mr Valenti's short film manages to expose our terrible phone habits, he said a lot of their reactions were even too boring to be included.

"I had a lot of footage of people just looking up at me bored and then changing directions. Some even tried to apologise to me because they hadn't realised I was the one who bumped into them," he said.




Walking with a smart phone has become such an issue, numerous governments all around the world have started to consider legislating against it.

"Distracted walking" has become so common, the Germans even invented a word for the people who do it: "smombies" - zombies on smartphones.

Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, passed a bill in July that made it illegal to text while crossing the street. Honolulu Police Department can enforce the law from October 25, fining first-timers between $US15 and $US35 ($A19 to $A45) which can reach $US99 (SA128) for a third offence.

"We hold the unfortunate distinction of being a major city with more pedestrians being hit in crosswalks, particularly our seniors, than almost any other city in the county," the mayor, Kirk Caldwell said at the time.

And Hong Kong, which has a massive issue with "distracted walking" has placed announcements in their subways advising passengers: "Don't keep your eyes only on your mobile phone."

People love walking on their phones in the city.
People love walking on their phones in the city.

A recent study by Guide Dogs Australia found that more than a third of people using a white cane were bumped into every time they walked out the front door while 60 per cent of those doing the bumping were engrossed in their mobile phone.

Erin Goedhart, a Melbourne mum of two who has used a white cane for 20 years, said getting knocked into constantly could be "demoralising".

"I'm the mother of two teenage girls so I'm going to the grocery store at least three to four times a week. Getting knocked into regularly can be really demoralising but it's a mind over matter situation, you just have to force yourself to go," she said.

Erin Goedhart has to deal with phone-obsessed walkers all the time.
Erin Goedhart has to deal with phone-obsessed walkers all the time.

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