In a society rife with social media, have we lost sight of what is really important? Honest-to-goodness human interaction?
It seems as though everyone is on some form of social media or another. From Facebook to Twitter, Snapchat to Instagram and all the programs in between, we are being conditioned to share our every movement, thought and dinner with the world. And while I’m not even going to mention the all-too-real threat that posting your location every second of the day can lead to, I am going to mention the victims hardest hit by this social media craze. Your friends. Your family. Those who care about you, and whom you proclaim to care about in return.
When is the last time you went out to dinner and didn’t check your phone? When is the last time you actually called a family member instead of merely liking their post on Facebook? While it is no secret that social media has made it easier to keep in touch with those who don’t live nearby, it also causes us to become too dependent on our phones, tablets and computers. And unfortunately, this epidemic isn’t only affecting twenty-somethings. It’s affecting children as young as 11 years old. That’s right, we have become so enamored of our apps and social media profiles that our children have taken notice. And they are following in our footsteps.
It is truly disheartening when I see people out to dinner who are too engaged in their phones to converse with the person seated across from them, or when I’m trying to enjoy the newest blockbuster movie, but the glare of the back-light from the cell phone of the person in front of me keeps distracting me. I was horrified at my last family gathering to find myself scrolling my Facebook feed instead of paying attention to what was going on around me, even though I hadn’t seen most of the people in attendance in a year, and I wasn’t likely to see them again until the next gathering.
How have we as a society allowed this to happen? Is there any way that we can diminish the effect social media has on our personal lives? While the answer to the first question may never be definitively answered, I can say that the answer to the second question is unequivocally YES. Yes, we can take action over our own lives and learn to put the electronics down. The next time you are asked to dinner or a family gathering, turn your phone off and leave it in your purse. Or better yet, leave it in your car. The next time you are sitting at home, resist the urge to check your Facebook feed and instead spend time with your family. Having a girls’ night out? Trust me when I say you don’t need to log in to Snapchat and post those drunken photos. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself in the morning.