Technology makes people less social in real-life situations
Once, when my family was driving home from a group gathering, my dad got upset at me for playing with my phone during dinner.
“I didn’t get you a smartphone so you can shut the family out of your world,” he said.
Of course, he disregarded my explanation that I pulled out my phone to avoid the awkwardness at the dinner table. Before I took my phone out, I was sitting there with nothing to contribute to the conversation.
After my younger sister began playing games on her iPod at our own dinner table, I finally understood my dad’s concern.
Technology is growing at a rapid rate. Six years ago, Apple introduced the iPhone 3. Everything the phone was capable of fascinated me, along with everyone else. The students at my school with the latest and greatest smartphones were greatly admired by fellow students. Nowadays, the iPhone 3 is ancient history, just like the other forgotten trendy phones of the past.
With such variety in the phone market, the question is no longer whether you own a smartphone or not, but what kind of phone you own. Aside from the heated rivalry between Android and iOs, the competition of who has the best smartphone includes silly criteria, like who has the more stylish phone cases or best ringtone. People are willing to waste tons of money on apps and gadgets to customize their smartphones or to make their phone look cool, while the practicality of a smartphone is often neglected.
For those who actually appreciate the convenience of a smartphone, they let their smartphone take control over their life. It is not strange to find a group of friends who travel to hang out at a coffee shop and the first thing they ask when they walk in is, “What’s the wifi password here?” And it is not surprising to find out the group’s definition of “hanging out” means going through social networking sites on their phones and every once in a while showing each other something funny they found.
It seems as though every meeting of friends morphs into a series of Facebook statuses, Instagram pictures or Twitter updates. Hashtags, such as #enjoyingthemoment or #havingthetimeofmylife are all over the place, but are they really the truth? It is not enjoying the moment if one is
sipping his or her drink in silence, while making no eye contact with anyone else. It is not having the time of your life if you dressed up for the sake of looking pretty and earning a few extra likes on your pictures.
People can talk to each other for hours through texting or snapchats, but they have difficulty carrying on a conversation in real life. Just like how I explained to my dad, most people justify becoming lost in their phones as a method to avoid awkward silence. But once I decided to put my phone away when meeting with other people, I realized it is not hard to socialize. Hearing a person’s real voice after spending hours texting them is a refreshing experience.
In a busy world of school and work, it is precious when people can find the time for each other without a phone in front of their face. Don’t let the smartphones ruin the moment so that you can truly have the time of your life.
Amanda Vu can be reached at email@example.com