Sometimes I find myself in a room full of people, yet I am literally alone. Technology, and in this case, the Internet is taking over faster than (I) expected and, even though we are aware of its many pros and cons, we still find ourselves trapped in the virtual world. Truth is, we’ve got a whole real world out there to explore!
I consider myself lucky to have been raised in a post-Communist, damaged, but ready to start developing country. This gave me the opportunity to still spend my childhood outside, in nature, playing and interacting with the other kids. We didn’t have cellphones or tablets, maybe a well deserved Tamagotchi or a Tetris/Gameboy Console if we got A+ in school. But that was kind of it – no easily accessible or affordable technology. I always remember the moment I got my first phone – a B&W, polyphonic Alcatel (a ‘big’ deal back then). I was finishing 7th grade (~ 14 yo), second in my class – this was my reward.
Nowadays, if you are lucky/privileged enough, you don’t even need to put too much effort into getting your hands on a gadget – kids get smartphones and tablets in order to keep them busy since they can walk, teenagers center their lives around Social Media, and adults just have to decide upon which gigantic brand will better suit their work & leisure needs. Of course, even if you are not an ICT enthusiast, due to the rapid development of ‘how things work’, complemented by the visible social pressure, you will eventually give in.
I once heard a conversation between some middle-aged and senior people:
A (on a funny tone): Now that we are in this restaurant, should we Check-in or at least Tweet about it? I understand kids are doing it these days, it keeps them going.
B (on a serious tone): You know what?! I’m 70 years old, I don’t have a smartphone, nor Twitter or Facebook. I am here with you people, this is what keeps me going!
We have a saying in Romania which can be roughly translated to ‘If you don’t have an old person around, get one’. True story: the older, the wiser. Going back to the *old man’s* point: it should be real interaction that keeps us going, not a new status update or a quick Tweet or a Snap. It should be conversation and exchange of ideas and talking to each other that keeps us going. Don’t let us be in the same room and pass on the opportunity to interact with someone else just because an online story caught our attention.
Nonetheless, it would be hypocritical not to mention that I am a phone-addict myself. I do check my phone constantly, I do spend time on Social Media, I send Snaps and I write Tweets. But at the same time, I am aware of when to put my phone down and how important it is to keep face to face interaction alive. This is why, it really upsets me when I am in a room full of people and still get to feel alone.
So: meet your friends, go out, explore and try to use the Internet for its more productive purposes.
Featured image rights go to Vogue.com.
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