' I think, that if I touched the earth,
It would crumble;
It is so sad and beautiful,
So tremulously like a dream.'


Hangin' On the Telephone: The Anti-Social Reality of Social Tech

Connecting with other people should be easier now than ever, what with us having handheld devices on us most of the time, and access to all sorts of social media imaginable. These things were designed to bring us all together, but the ironic reality is they’ve somehow succeeded in founding a generation of individuals that increasingly spend their time isolated in a bubble of digital distraction, cut off from the world around them and everyone in it.

I recently spotted a young family sat having lunch together – well, when I say “together”, they may as well have been on different continents: The parents (in their late twenties) were sat in silence staring at their phone screens, and their daughter, who was no more than 1 or 2, was sat vacant-eyed and glued to her iPad, just totally switched off from her surroundings.

  Now, I’m not na├»ve enough to preach that children ought to be kept away from this kind of technology – after all, depriving youngsters of an acquaintance with things like IPads in this day and age will unquestionably disadvantage them in later life – but the time they do spend with it has to be regulated. It is so easy to plonk your little tot in front of a screen for hours on end to keep them quiet, but the more you do so the more you’re risking him or her growing up completely lacking in basic social skills.

Looking around, our modern generation especially seems to have already become worryingly desensitised, with little if any empathy for anyone except ourselves and our own; explore the  furthest end of this spectrum, and you have youngsters that have grown up to be alarmingly hostile towards others and to anything and everything that’s different from them.  Worst of all, we’ve gradually conditioned ourselves to find all this absolutely normal.

Flash forward to a terrifying Orwellian society where mankind has evolved an extra flattened edge to the thumb (ideal for screen swiping) and each of us exists utterly cut off from the other; suspicious, hostile and totally without compassion or consideration. Ok, well maybe the thumb thing is a bit excessive (though you NEVER know), but the rest doesn’t seem quite so far-fetched.

Instead of settling for a vicarious existence through a screen (hey, if you didn’t check in on Facebook, were you ever really there at all..?), why don’t we all set a precedent for the future and make a conscious effort to put down our devices a little more often, go out, and just experience life? Catch up with friends?  Laugh? Try something new? I like my thumbs just the way they are, anyway.

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