Social media has incontrovertibly become a massive part of our existence. Our lives are stored on the little devices we carry in our handbags or pockets – reminders, alarms, contact details, facebook, pictures, even GPS is now stored on our phones. We can go nowhere without them, and so we never do.
Why is this a problem?
Having your phone with you at all times is not where the problem comes in, it keeps you connected, right? Wrong. While we do indeed remain connected on social media, we are losing out on human connection, and communication. People these days are far more interested in sharing their lives on social media than they are in actually engaging with another human being.
In my own life, I have tried to implement down times, where I don’t grasp desperately for my phone the moment I am left alone at a lunch table – rather, I sit and look around the restaurant, trying to take in my surroundings. Without exception, every single person in the place has their phone out. I’m sure if anyone was interested in looking around, I would appear to be some kind of mad woman, sitting alone, ferreting out my environment, rather than checking my phone.
The same thing goes for other occasions – family gatherings, braais, birthday parties… Phones are always out, always on the table. Who knows, something important might crop up. But the accessibility of our cell phones means that they provide constant distraction, and result in too much time being spent checking them – again, causing us to lose out on actual human interaction.
Are we so busy taking photos of our food that we forget to enjoy it? Are we so caught up in making our virtual lives look amazing that we miss out on the opportunity to actually make them so? Are we so interested in following what our friends are doing on social media that we miss actually connecting with them in person?