If you concluded from the title of this post and the picture above that the digital plague I am referring to is the latest Trojan virus created by some lunatic with nothing better to do, you would be wrong. Today’s generation of kids has fallen into a dark void. This “void” is the pixelated surface on the latest iPhone, or the brand new Galaxy, or any other smartphone. Not many kids can willingly go an hour without checking their phone, and many adults are starting to develop this habit as well. Do we want to be a society whose eyes are glued to a screen all the time? Do we want to be a society that is so distracted that it can’t look up and relish reality? Smartphones are incredible pieces of technology that prove over and over again to be useful in a million different ways; but the most widely used applications on these devices are the most mind-numbing. Social media is the single best way to connect with people and share information, and it is also the most effective way to waste your life away.
The worst part is that people don’t even realize it’s happening.
The last thing most people do before they fall asleep is check Twitter. It could be 3 in the morning and some people still frantically pull their screen down to refresh their feed. Then finally, a tweet pops up and is either a complaint about how they are up so late at night or how the next day is going to be rough due to sleep deprivation, and naturally the reader automatically discards the information and continues to attempt to refresh the page. Eventually the reader gets tired of waiting and goes to bed, or falls asleep trying. The best part is that first thing in the morning, that person will start back right where they left off and try to catch up on all the “why am I up so late?” tweets.
If this is you don’t worry, you aren’t alone. 84% of smartphone users check their phone first thing in the morning, and 40% of those people choose a social media site over anything else.
Have you ever been with your best friends who you can talk to anything about and realized you are all sitting in complete silence, just monitoring your phone? It is absolutely pathetic. Social media was made to promote communication but instead is doing exactly the opposite. It creates social barriers that hinder the development of key communication skills. We all know someone who is a social butterfly online and has 1000’s of friends or followers but couldn’t complete one sentence to you in person if they had a week to develop one.
Speaking of followers: In the course of your life, will the number of followers you have on Twitter really ever benefit you? What about retweets or favorites? These are the most coveted superlatives on the site and people actually feel a sense of accomplishment for getting high counts of them. If kids spent half the time they spend tweeting doing something more productive, let’s say studying for a test or practicing their favorite sport, they could accomplish so much more. But instead there are people bragging about some false sense of popularity created by interactions on Twitter.
I’d like to say that I’m not one of the affected. But here I am, writing an entry all about bashing social media… hosted by a social media site… that I will advertise on my Twitter… I’m not saying that Twitter is the devil (although the title of this post was almost that exactly). Twitter is a great way to connect with friends and stay in the loop of the latest news that you care about. But it’s a powerfully addictive tool, and needs to be budgeted. So when you’re about to reach into your pocket to check your phone, don’t. You probably didn’t miss much in the past five minutes.
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