As I sit amongst a table of friends, I slowly begin to look around me. I realize that every single one of my friends is on their smartphone. Silence ensues and no one bothers to acknowledge the fact that we’ve stopped talking to one another. As I glance around the restaurant I notice couples ignoring their meals in place of their iPhone screens. I see a mother hushing her children while she glances at her device. They are sending texts, scrolling through Facebook, looking up quick recipes, and viral videos. When did this become the social norm?
Is this the result of easy access to information in the digital age? Or a bad habit?
I sometimes think of this YouTube clip titled: “A generation of idiots, smart phones & dumb people.” It shows how in our insatiable need to be connected we are actually losing our connections. Now don’t get me wrong, I am in no way calling my friends, co-workers, and family members idiots (especially you Mom,) but I sometimes feel that we forget to be present in the moment because of our need to feel “connected” online. I too am guilty of this. Sometimes it’s just easier to bury your face in your smartphone screen than that boring task we were working on. Our phone works as sort of an escape from reality that we control.
I think this reliance and dependency for our smartphones has happened through digital media convergence. There are three forms of emerging media that I am thinking of specifically: telecommunications, cable TV, and computers. These three separate entities have blended together to give you your significant other…I mean your smartphone. Every application imaginable can be downloaded on your phone, and that’s why it feels like we are spending so much quality time with this technology.
Spending time away from your phone means missing out on something important on social media, or via text, or via email for work so we feel a sort of separation anxiety or FOMO. This device has become such an integral part of our lives that almost seems impossible to be without. I use my phone more often than I would like to admit, but I just can’t quit Siri or my twitter feed.