When Technology Isn’t Really An Advantage

The world has become a much smaller place and it’s possible to keep in touch with family members and loved ones who are far from us with just the touch of a button on our smartphones and personal computers or even our tablets.

There are a plethora of apps that allow us to do this; from WhatsApp to BlackBerry Messenger to Skype, Facebook (just to name a few).

These days, it’s practically impossible to use the excuse of “I couldn’t reach you” because there is more than one way to reach almost anyone in most parts of the world — Unless said person lives in a really remote place that doesn’t even have access to a Satellite phone.

So yes the advent of technology has made our lives much easier to deal with and distant relationships much easier to contemplate but it isn’t without its challenges.

I remember growing up as a child. I was always encouraged by my folks to go out and play a little with the other neighbourhood children. These became my first friends. We would run around all day when we were on holidays and just have a good time exercising and just generally having a good time. It aided in my social skills at such an early age. It taught me to interact with people and even today, that still helps me.

As I got older, I learned the art of having a good conversation with those around me; noting their points of interest and drawing them out a bit so that we could find a sort of common ground and have a stimulating conversation. I truly got to learn from these moments and it was a golden time.

As time went by however, the Walkman came into the fray and then the iPod and you’d see children and adults walking around with earphones in their ears, shutting out the world and the possibility of a conversation. The earpiece was always a sign which said very loudly: “I do not want to be disturbed.”

Then BlackBerry showed up and BBM became the craze and anywhere you went, you’d see people bunched up together looking into their phones instead of looking at the world.

It got worse as time went on and we see the evidence of this everyday once we step out of our homes.

Technology has made things easier for us all true and has made erstwhile difficult tasks more a walk in the park but at what cost?

We’re always saturated with so much information all of the time from all over that we forget what’s most important — Human connection. We forget that technology can never replace face to face conversations and the time spent in the company of a special person without all the distractions.

It isn’t about the number of followers one has (Twitter, Facebook, Medium, Snapchat, etc), it isn’t about how often you get to chat with that special person over the phone. It’s how you are around these persons when they’re right there with you. Do you give more attention to the person miles away because you’re texting or sexting or messaging or whatever or do you take a moment to just unplug and focus on who’s right there in front of you?

Yes times have changed and we live in a more desperate and dark world now and we have to be more cautious when in large gatherings and what have you but I believe we use this as an excuse to avoid real human connections, choosing instead to spend hours online (and meeting people online!) than actually communicate in person; truly communicate with another human being.

This brought so many thoughts to my head and one of the thoughts that came up was of a video I’d seen about a year ago on YouTube that describes this very sad state and you’ll find the video below.

In addition, listen to the last five minutes of the BBC Podcast below where a bar in London has made the use of mobile phones illegal. I say that’s a step in the right direction.