Is it time to put down our smart phones?
Yesterday I sat on the tube making my way home after having watched Disney’s Aladdin in London. A wonderful show to be discussed another day. On the opposite side of the train were 7 people aged, roughly, between 20 – 35 years old. 6 of those 7 people had their mobile phones in their hand. And the 7th person? He had the unmistakeable iPhone earphones plugged in his ears leading to his pocket.
The year is 2017. We live in a connected world powered by technology. Almost every waking minute of the day, the average person in the UK is somehow connected to the internet. Be it through their luxury car with a built in modem or free wifi on a bus. From posting status updates on social media sites using the watch on their wrist, or asking their Bluetooth speaker what the temperature is in Dubai. The majority of people reading this post are, at most, only inches away from an internet connection every minute of their lives. It is, truly, an extraordinary time to be alive.
But we’re wasting it all!
It all started with the Smart Phone. In the mid 1990’s Companies such as IBM and Nokia made the first steps at bringing more functionality out of their phone before Ericsson released the R380 in 2000, generally considered the first ‘Smartphone’. Blackberry looked most likely to further the technology but it wasn’t until the release of the original iPhone that the idea really took off. That was in 2007.
10 years on, the technology is continually improving and finding incredible ways to better our lives. But what do we use it for? We have the technology available in our pockets to learn a foreign language, study for a degree, or learn how to play a musical instrument. We can keep up to date on, not only domestic politics, but those of the entire connected world, from almost anywhere we sit. Instead, we use these incredible tools to throw disgruntled birds at evil pigs, to find out gossip about “celebrities” we’ll never know or meet, and to distract our children in the hope that they stop crying. They even sit on our desks at work to distract us from the monotony of our daily lives and provide motivational memes to convince us that one day we’ll be successful.
It has been 18 months since I deactivated my Facebook account and I haven’t missed it for a second. On a couple of occasions I have had to pop back in to retrieve an old photograph, but not once have I hesitated when deactivating the account having found what I needed. But that doesn’t make me innocent. I initially replaced old FB with twitter, spending more than a few hours refreshing my feed and following pointless accounts. Nowadays, I like and send an endless stream of Instagram posts to people whilst receiving more notifications from my YouTube subscriptions than I do messages from friends and loved ones.
The point is, we are all guilty of taking these tremendous tools that could better our lives in a great way and using them as an escape from everything around us. In doing so, we’re reducing our human interaction and cutting off communication with the people closest to us.