Before technology took over
Last week my mother asked me to accompany her to a wedding of some distant family friends. Not having much to do that day, I decided to tag along. However I forgot to take along my mobile. I was completely okay with that, only until I reached there and realized how big of a mistake I had made. Every single person at our table was hooked on to their mobiles, except for the aunties of course. This is how obsessed everybody around us has become with technology. I tried to make conversation with the girl sitting next to me. But after noticing the beeping of her cell phone every now and then, I gave up. Maybe her facebook notifications informing her of the number of likes on her picture were more important than carrying out an actual conversation with the person sitting beside her, sighs.
Killing real conversations
Back then, before technology took over, there was once a time when carrying a real conversation was an art. People would look forward to it especially on gatherings and functions. They knew how to easily start up a conversation from things as simple as like what do you do. Where you from to what do you like and dislike are. But nowadays, teens and even adults have become zombies spellbound by that little gadget in their hands. We see people walking around with their heads into their devices, headphones plugged into their ears. They are completely oblivious to their surroundings and those around them. So even if they are physically present, their attachment to phones makes them mentally absent. And this is seriously damaging the capability to have meaningful conversations.
It can only be through face to face conversation, where we can actually empathize with the other person. Connect to them on a much deeper level and feel close to them. The body language, making eye contact with the other person, the ups and downs of the voice’s tone, the sudden express of emotion, and the person’s actual physical presence is what makes a conversation real. And this is what is lacking when texting.
No doubt, social media does keep you connected with those who are away. But actually cuts you off with the person sitting right next to you. There are people who are so obsessed with technology. They spend every minute of their day hooked to their cell phones checking on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and what not. Cell phone are literally killing face to face conversations. People are so busy catching up on the latest whatsapp discussions or facebook notifications. Hence they forget living in the present moment, enjoying it and making the most of it.
Dinner time back in our days
Back in our time, the dinner time used be pure family time. A place where we’d all discuss the day’s activities, how our day was, and any new news that we got to know of. There was input from every family member. But sadly enough, now a days even the dinner table conversations have been invaded by the mobile devices. Teenagers have one eye on their phones even while having dinner. According to a report, ‘Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview. (2015, April 8)’, “94% of teenagers access the Internet via their smartphones at least once a day, if not more. Facebook is the most-commonly visited social media site for teens (71%), followed by Instagram (52%), then Snapchat (44%).”
We go to a fancy restaurant and the first thing we do is tweet our experience, and flood our Instagram with mouthwatering pictures of food. We completely ignore the people right next to us, whom we’re supposed to have quality time and real conversations with.
Phone Stack Game, you gotta try this
Let’s just all try to get rid of this habit. Take regular breaks from our smartphone and appreciate living in the present moment and making the most of it. Next time you meet your friends, try to minimize the use of your phone. Give them undivided and uninterrupted attention because if you don’t, you might miss great opportunities. And might even develop distances with people who matter more to you than your online activities. In fact play the phone stack game, where all the friends stack their mobiles at the centre of the table. The first one to look at his phone, pays the bills. Seems legit, no?
Babycakes Romero, primarily a street photographer, photographed people in small gatherings. He threw light on how every person had his head down into his phone, instead of talking to the people around them. He believes that these devices are making people seriously dull. Following are some of his photos: