The Social Defection
Millions of pixels, thousands of clicks, hundreds of hours, yet zero interaction aside from the blank stares upon the empty text of whichever customized device we chose as our poison.
The media which lured people into a smaller version of the "small world after all" and unlocked opportunities of communication by sharing thoughts and ideas to secure us close together has now enticed many into a revitalized version of communication, one in which gaping into a tiny, whichever-colored, device of pixels is more entertaining and important than physically interacting with another living being.
Yup, why spend energy laughing together with a friend when you can dandily whip out that QWERTY keyboard and swype the infamous "lol".
Take a moment to halt your busy lifestyle for to notice just how many people around you are occupied with some sort of electronic. That girl over there is probably snapping an Instagram and the guy over there is checking the likes on his recently posted status. Imagine how many opportunities pass by, how many people could have been met or befriended in the place of the solid bundle of metal scraps.
Now, don't get me wrong, these electronics are a lifesaver; check messages from family or friends, stay updated with news and work, pay last minute bills, check to see if you won the lotto or if you have to keep putting up with your haughty boss or irritating coworkers, etc., but I find it a bit bothersome that even when people are hanging out together to try to catch up on things or revitalize waned interaction, their focus is on everything but each other.
We've probably all been guilty of checking our Facebook or Twitter while visiting a friend's house now and then, but how about those people who begin their occasion with texting their arrival, then throughout the event continue to text or refresh their news feed a couple hundred times like it's their house fridge, waiting for something magnificent to appear, rather than interacting with the person whom they came to visit. Similarities are beginning to rise with the subsequent generations as well; while you had that "swaggy" Fisher-Price handheld as a kid, they're partying away on their new iPad. Soon, day-cares will have it easy: just make sure the battery isn't about to die and tear them away for a quick potty break now and then (ever hear of that kid who died from urinary tract implosion because he spent 72 continuous hours playing a videogame?).
Tough luck for those board game companies; the new player has already bought up every block and is ready to pass 'go' once more and collect two hundred.
All jokes aside, is this pattern enough to be signified as a true issue?
Addiction to electronics has shown to play a factor in decline in sleep duration; people are staying up past their point of enervation to cling tight to their next notification update. It is also hypothesized that spending too much time glued to the screen can lead to development of mental and social issues:
"ESS (Electronic Screen Syndrome) is essentially a disorder of dysregulation. Dysregulation can be defined as an inability to modulate one’s mood, attention, or level of arousal in a manner appropriate to one’s environment. Interacting with screens shifts the nervous system into fight-or-flight mode which leads to dysregulation and disorganization of various biological systems. " -- Psychologytoday
The findings listed above correlate to an increase in child hyperactivity and ADD/ADHD, the latter of which has "increased nearly 800 percent between 1980 and 2007", during the beginnings of the easily-public-accessed technological era. Staring at a screen for hours dulls reaction time and environment sensitivity, yet increases irritability and jitter when separated, not to mention the deteriorating effects it has on the eyes..
There have been multiple other studies which view electronic occupancy as an addiction due to its impulsive usage; in 2013 Journal of Behavioral Sciences noted that young adults check their cellphones an average of 60 times a day, with the number assumingly set to rise in forthcoming years with the addition of many children being introduced into the electronic occupancy
"More than a third of children under the age of 2 use mobile media, according to a recently released report from Common Sense Media. Specifically, the study found that 38 percent of kids under age 2 have used tablets or smartphones."
So, are you one of the people whom find themselves staying up until 2AM aimlessly refreshing a dull feed, or snapping pictures of every food or place rather than indulging in the moment and experiencing things with your own eyes rather than through the eye of a pixelated aperture?