Meaningful interactions we have today with others are subtly being destroyed by the Internet and mobile technologies. We are being disconnected from the world around us, and subconsciously are leading to an inescapable sense of isolation we call our private space.
10 years ago, the only social media platform I was on was Blogger for the most obvious reason. And my only form of communication besides face-to-face communication was the Short Message Service (SMS). I rarely make phone calls and the only phone calls I would receive would be from my then boyfriend. When we were in a long-distance relationship, there was Yahoo Messenger.
Today, I start my day by checking messages on WhatsApp and Skype, email, skimming the latest headlines on Huffington Post or Buzzfeed, posting random photos with a kickass caption on Instagram, posting something ambiguous on Facebook and once in a while, swiping left and right on Tinder. And for some people, for the rest of the day, they are constantly on their mobile devices for both personal or professional use.
With the internet and mobile devices, we have the ability to connect with people instantly at our fingertips regardless of our whereabouts. Yet, ironically, by being connected, we’re also disconnected. Our social behaviours have changed since we decided to place a screen in the middle of our interactions.
Thank you, inventors, for your brilliance and inventions. But to be honest, I’m really tired of it – of the sense of disconnection – though I do agree that at the same time, it makes life a lot easier. Yes, we benefit from it. I mean through a social networking site like Facebook, for instance, it is amazing how we can find a long-lost friend, enabling us to reconnect.
But that as it may, although we conveniently turn to mobile devices for our social needs, we primally yearn for physical interaction. I know I do – not so much lust, but warmth. But the problem is, like our devices, we now expect our relationships to be just as fast and brief. And this diminishes the quality of human interaction.
A hook-up application like Tinder makes it easier for those who wants just that – a brief and fast, no string attached sexual relationship. Although many of us are trying to break the stigma of it being just a hook-up application, we are secretly glad that it exist for what it is. The main reason being – there is no need for emotional obligations and expectations. We love the ‘free love’ so much that we just don’t value or cherish actual relationships anymore.
However, this technological detachment affects not only social relationships but family ties as well.
Often when I’m out at a restaurant by myself or with my friends, I get emotional looking at a mother and child laughing and bonding together, father and son discussing yesterday’s football match and grandchildren listening to grandparents talking about their past. It would remind me of my family back home and the time that I missed spending with them, being away on the other side of the country.
But today, we don’t often see all these anymore. Half the people at the restaurant would either be so engrossed in an online conversation on their mobile phones or play games on other devices.
We are now spending more time with technology than we are with our loved ones. Even when having our breakfast or dinner at home, most of us would hunch over our phones or tablets as we take one bite after another of our food. I myself am guilty of this crime sometimes, but I avoid doing it at home.
It is very common nowadays to see parents using these mobile devices to keep their children occupied before they become distracted or loud. Once at Sushi Zanmai, while the parents were enjoying each sushi after another, the son – age between 4 to 7 – was so engrossed watching cartoons on YouTube.
By doing this rather than bonding with them, many of these children grow up not even bothering to hang out with the family even on their free time. They think it’s okay to not bond with their family members anymore. In fact, even special family occasions are now infiltrated by mobile technologies.
We are overusing the technology and it is declining our face-to-face communication and family time. What will happen 10 years down the road?
We were once invaded by human with weaponry who killed millions, we should not be invaded by hazardous humanoids. Before they invade us and takes over our human duties and human rights, we should not place too much importance on technology.
Uninstall Outlook on your mobile phone for a start. Nobody will fire you for not checking your emails at 12 midnight on a Saturday. And if you do get fired, shove a broom up that sender’s ass.
And even if you still have it on your phone, you have a choice not to check your emails at hours where you should be spooning your loved one, if not having sex or dozing off.