Do you hear that? Probably not, because no one hears anything anymore. Have you ever noticed that we have to speak more quickly, just to get our point across these days?
We have to speak our piece in the intervals between checking our phones. The fact that everyone and their dog has a Facebook page and every item and business has one too, is alarming to me. The scariest part about everyone being online is that this is only the beginning. The notion of a technological world is still in its earliest days and we are but a testing group – a Guinea pig to the actual crises that the world will experience through its full development, years down the road. The somewhat innocent days of MSN are over, social media has taken on the masses in a massive way.
Everything right now
Our increasingly anti-social society has a lot to do with our attention spans being shortened due to everything being instantaneous, even the news. Instead of waiting for the paper to come out, we can just Google it and be pretty well informed or at least have enough knowledge in order to pretend to be. The social media culture is engrained into so many lives that we’re starting to forget that there is actually a real world that we have a responsibility to be in. So much effort is being put into the Internet that we’re losing the energy we need to put into real life interactions.
The fact that social media has become an issue is not a new discovery. We are very quick to point out that many people have an unhealthy weakness for handheld screens – I know this because I have seen a number of posts about it. What is alarming to me, is that this obsession with our phones is developing into a mental health issue. The reliance is becoming a sickness and I am frightened for future generations. This is only the beginning and, if you think the progression of this issue is about to slow down or even plateau, you are horribly naïve.
When is the line crossed?
How much social media is too much and when does it cross a line?
Dr. Phil has chosen to involve himself in this ongoing debate, on many occasions by bringing guests onto his show who have extreme cases. Most recently he spotlighted a young girl named Khloe, about 21-years-old, who would not let go of her phone, even when she slept. She was playing on her phone on stage during the show. Dr. Phil asked if he could hold her phone and she hesitantly passed it over. He handled the device as she looked at it intently and protectively, as if it was her newborn baby. In her case, if she is not connected to Wi-Fi or if her family were to take her phone away, she would lash out in anger. Khloe, sans iPhone, turned into a massive ball of distress and anxiety.
“I can’t breathe without Wi-Fi,” she said and, though it sounds completely insane, she was serious.
Our lives have become intertwined with our online personas. We choose what we want people to know about us and our timelines and feeds are the tourist attractions. That is why you should never compare your life to someone else by looking at their Facebook. You are essentially comparing a blank canvas to a finished work of art. This is something perfected and worked on, while you are probably sitting in your PJs in bed, scrolling down this waterfall of disappointment and self-loathing. Social media has taken comparing ourselves to each other to a new level.
My fear is that there will be so many apps created that every basic life skill will be cut down to a menu and an alarm telling you when to act. The Internet is fairly new, compared to other things.
I am thankful that I was born in a time when social media was not even a thought and I could see the gradual, yet inevitable growing reliance on this unbelievable tool. I hope future generations will still look at a fluttering butterfly with wonder instead of through a camera phone lens. I hope that babies born in 2079 will still run around with friends until the street lights in the neighbourhood turn on, that in 2138, fourth graders will still bring forward their chlorophyll science projects on a home-made poster full of glued on pictures and share it with the class. I hope that in 200 years from now, people will still know what it feels like to meet someone out of the blue and fall in love at first sight.
The fact of the matter is, human interaction is what provides us with any real connection. It’s the only thing that truly matters. If you ever catch yourself missing out on something in real life because you were too consumed with something on your phone, look up. There might be something beautiful staring back at you.
Editor in Chief