One time, I was at a dinner party with my folks. We had just taken some starters and drinks. The casual conversations we had at the beginning of the dinner had died down. At one point, I casually observed the table and I noticed something almost startling:
Everybody’s head is lowered and they’re all looking down at their phones. They either glanced at their screen to read their notifications or were busily texting someone on Whatsapp. As I said, it was almost startling at first but then I realized that this is the new norm.
I am also guilty of this behavior because I also occasionally glance at my phone from time to time (I’m in like 5 Whatsapp groups so I get constant notifications). In fact, there was a survey done and it was observed that the average person looks at their screen more than 300 times a day.
That’s crazy. But on the other hand, it’s not really surprising.
It’s safe to say that we are the point of no return. We are all officially addicted to our screens and it’s only going to get worse. There’s almost a Pavlovian reaction when your phone notification sounds off.
You hear the “ping” sound on your phone and you unconsciously raise your phone to read the screen. It works everything. Believe me, I’ve seen when the Whatsapp or Samsung notification goes off in a public room and people immediately check their phones. It’s quite amusing.
But we’ve also seen that this addiction can be fatal at times. We’ve all read stories of people who have been killed because they were so busy texting on their phones that they walked straight into traffic or even train tracks.
Other times, people literally walk into each other in the street because they’re texting while walking. Let’s not even get into the whole texting while driving issue. Seriously, don’t text and drive. I’ve tried it. It’s almost impossible. Either pull over and text back or don’t text at all. It’s a terrible habit which people must give up. It’s not worth it.
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Even though we’re a slave to our devices, one might say that they are a necessary evil. Everything is basically done online now and to not have a smartphone these days is to be non-existent in modern society. From registering online to buying plane tickets, the smartphone has changed how we operate.
Plus, it makes EVERYTHING convenient. I can actually sit at home, order a pizza and pay online. All Just with a few swipes on my phone. You can actually break news with your phone by using your camera and posting footage online. Every citizen is a potential journalist now.
So now, we’ve established that we’re all smartphone zombies who are becoming more anti-social thanks to our devices. I’ve always been called anti-social when I’m more actually an introvert (Look it up, there’s a difference). Smartphones and the internet were basically a godsend for me. But even I have to admit that the addiction levels are becoming a little scary.
Once in a while, I still like to have a face to face conversation with someone. But from what I’ve noticed, that’s becoming a rare thing. One time, I had a five-minute face to face conversation with a friend. For two minutes of that conversation, the other person kept glancing at their phone, simultaneously texting someone else while talking to me. I knew that it was the new norm to check your phone but even I felt a bit uncomfortable with it.
So yeah, we’re all addicts. I’m scared of bringing kids into this new world where everything is done on a screen. One of my friend’s little cousin once came over and started playing with my iPad. What surprised me the most was the fact that he knew how to unlock the device. He pressed the power button and tried swiping the screen to unlock it. I was a bit taken aback because he was almost a baby. He was like 3 or 4 years old but he already knew how to operate an iPad.
I wonder how society will look in the next 5-10 years as the addiction to our screens increases. Maybe we need to implement new social rules when it comes to device usage. But for now, I guess we just have to live with the current situation.
But the next time you’re in public, please make a mental note to observe your surroundings before you get absorbed in your device and walk into traffic. Seriously, be smarter.