Technology has allowed us to navigate through our world and explore it just by the click of a button. Yet, it is an aspect of our lives that if taken away, leaves us wandering and lost, and since most of us don’t know how to use a compass, we’ll be pretty damn lost and useless.
Many would argue that technology has changed our lives drastically for the better. Granted, it has made our lives easier, especially us students’, when it comes to researching for our degrees. Even during a conversation, speaking has been enhanced to the extent that visuals are also being incorporated into our discourse.
Technology has also allowed us to be just a click away from each other, through instant chats, video calls to be in contact with our family and friends all over the world and allows us to keep up to date with the current affairs around the globe. One would say that we have become more sociable thanks to technology. Yet, are we really that sociable?
Studying human communication, I learnt that our interpersonal skills on a face-to-face basis have been tainted as once we try engaging in conversation with someone, we are either distracted by the constant binging noises from our phones. Alternatively, we become so disinterested in the conversation we are attempting to have that we revert to scrolling through our phones. We are more interested in what is happening on the web than what is going on with the person sitting right in front of us.
This has also lead to the discussion about whether these habits regarding technology are affecting children’s upbringing and development. It’s verged onto the extreme, in my opinion, to the extent that I’ve seen children, maybe 4-5 year-olds playing on tablets and chit-chatting in church. *cue rant* I’m sorry, but parents, do you really need to resort to using technology in church to occupy your children? When I was that age, I had to sit through mass and be quiet (if not I would risk not having dessert), but I, and many kids forming part of my generation have been through the same thing. Tablets are not the way to go, especially in a place like a church, whatever religion it is celebrating. You should be teaching your children to follow the sermon in a place of worship, and not follow whatever is on their tablet. If your kids are a little rowdy, then use the crying room, like many people before you have done. *rant over*.
I’ve also seen this dependence on technology in the teen years. I teach during the summer and what I’ve noticed is that many teens, and adults these days, need to take out their phone during the lesson. Sometimes used as a translator, but other times as a safety net, just to know that it is there if they need an escape route. Their phones are literally attached to their hips. This sometimes also makes it harder for them to focus because they want to know what is being said on this chat, in that group, and on that social platform. Focusing is harder, so much so that new gadgets such as fidget spinners have been invented to keep people occupied while trying to complete the task at hand.
So, ladies and gents, try switching off every once in a while. Go for a walk without your phone, have a coffee with a friend and switch your phone off, read a book. Or hey, go to a restaurant with your friends, put all phones on the table and the first one to reach for his/her phone pays the entire table’s bill – that’s an incentive!