I’d like to say that I know my friends pretty well… but I probably have a better relationship with their phones. Every time I get together with my friends I’m not just getting together with my friends, I am also hanging out with their phones. But I don’t want to hang out with their phones. I want to hang out with my friends. And yet, this isn’t just something I see with my friends, the same problem arises whenever I try to talk to my parents. I never thought I would have to battle against their smartphones for a little attention, because to be honest, I really thought that’s what my brother was for…
Still, we are so consumed by this magical device that takes us into the virtual world, that we forget that we are with actual people in the real world. Subsequently, I would be a hypocrite to say that I am not guilty of this because trust me, I totally am. I could sit on my phone for hours if I wanted to, but mostly because I still haven’t beaten that level of Candy Crush and it’s literally killing me.
However, this particular first world struggle is one that many of us can relate to, and is one that is becoming increasingly frustrating, not to mention, pretty frightening. What’s going to happen when we wake up one day and find that all of our meaningful connections with others survive only because we remain connected—connected to the Internet.
We hide behind a screen that keeps us away from reality because God forbid we speak to someone over the phone, or even worse, speak to someone face to face. We have succumbed to the gods of the virtual underworld and in return we are faced with the consequences. One in particular is the whole notion of privacy, or should I say the lack there of.
We have traded in every piece of our private lives in order to stay connected to each other. Gone are the days when we would believe our friends when they told us that they didn’t call us back because their phone had died, or that they decided to stay in on a Friday night because they were tired. Thanks to social media, I know your phone didn’t die. Why? Because you just updated your Snapchat story 10 minutes ago.
And I know you didn’t decide to stay in on a Friday night because you just Instagrammed a picture of you and your friends at a party. Oh, and remember that one time you had that really gross fungal infection? Oh, were you trying to block that out? Because Facebook loves to bring it up. In fact, they will remind you every single day by randomly placing advertisements such as, “Get 20% off fungus cream” and “Clear your fungal infection today!” in your newsfeed. Mark Zuckerberg, you are a sneaky, yet successful Internet guru, but we all think it’s getting weird now.
All we are asking is that you stop reminding of us of every embarrassing search we entered on Google… It was a moment of weakness and we just want to forget about it, okay? We gave up our privacy for you, we should at least be able to hold onto our dignity…
So, as technology continues to rapidly progress, we, as a society, should learn to focus our energy on becoming more conscious of its result. When we get together with our friends, let’s engage in conversation. And when we sit down to dinner with our families, let’s enjoy each other’s company… or at least pretend to. We will always rely on technology, and that is simply okay. So, the next time you’re hanging out with your friends and find yourself sitting in silence because everyone is on their phones, break that silence, because the more connected we become to the Internet, the more disconnected we become from reality.
We need to remember the importance of our friendships and relationships because those are the connections that will remain the most stable, even when the Wi-Fi doesn’t seem to be working.