I find myself losing sleep over countless Vine posts, Instagram photos, tweets, and various spoof edits of Drake dancing in his new Hotline Bling music video. I use my phone to avoid having to greet an acquaintance in the hallways. When I’m feeling anxious, I unlock my phone, do nothing, and lock it again. It feels so strange to be so dependent on something so detached and accessory, but at the same time, the crippling anxiety and draft I feel when it’s missing from my hand remains to be stranger. Just walking around without it makes me feel so vulnerable – and my mind makes it difficult to forget that something is definitely missing.
As a kid, life indoors was beyond me. I played outside all day and if I did have to be indoors, I definitely wouldn’t have been on my phone. Things are completely different now. If I’m not drowning in homework, I’m immersed in someone’s Instagram or Facebook profile, scrolling away ‘til kingdom come. Lazy summer days are spent switching between the same 3 social networking sites. Call me lazy or idle, fine, but why is it so difficult for me to look up from it and see what’s in front of me? I can’t be the only one. Sometimes I wonder how generations before us grew up. Before the age of smartphones, could outdoor play and non-digital recreation still have been associated with older age ranges? People always say freedom is more at your hands as you age, but little did I know that the “freedom” I’d get when I grew up would still have me trapped, by a small device welded to my hand.
And emojis. They're EVERYWHERE. Could these be the hieroglyphics of our generation? How am I able to express my feelings with the help of a small image of a cactus? HOW? These new abilities seem so odd, but at the same time, so satisfying. The way we perceive our own emotions and the new ways in which we can express them are all shaped by the technology we have.
Am I guilty? To some extent, yes, but at the same time, not really. Smartphones and technological innovation are a huge step for us and have opened so many opportunities for mankind. The advantages have been more than beneficial to us, but what’s the catch? If you really sit down and think about it, this wide access to information and media with a click of a button or the sound of your voice has really stripped us of our sense of genuine human interaction. Time allotted for family bonding or catching up with friends means everyone present, but everyone on their phones. Modern dating has us swiping left and right, breaking up over text. Are we living in the moment, or are we living so we could post it on Twitter and show everyone these moments?
What is this new era we've entered? And why can't we let go of our phones? Maybe technology has peaked. Maybe this it, and humans will forever be zombies controlled by this virtuality. Maybe in the midst of trying to improve communication, we got lost along the way and have somehow managed to strip it of its personal essence.
- Nikki Alarilla
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