Technology has improved modern life in many ways; whether it is with exciting innovation that makes daily tasks easier, connecting people who are worlds apart from each other, life-saving medical devices, or simple devices that are often taken for granted. But as exciting and useful as this technology can be, it can also be equally detrimental to society.
There was a time when couples would speak to each other in the evenings, friends would gather over a cup of coffee and converse, or neighbors would chat with each other. People used to be more social, until the plague of smartphones destroyed interpersonal dynamics. Now people can sit in the same room and never speak. Eyes are glued to a screen, while fingers swipe feverishly through the Facebook news feed or whatever website has become more captivating than your spouse, friends and family. Technology has caused many couples to drift apart, consumed by loneliness in the glare of the smartphone screen.
I remember growing up, I would listen to the adults talk about their day. They would discuss current affairs, family issues, cute anecdotes, and even the weather. They would occasionally watch television together, and talk to each other during commercials. Many families would have a game night, where they would get out the board games and cards for some family fun. No matter what the activity was, the important aspect was that they acknowledged each other’s existence. Now people turn on the TV, but scroll their phones during commercials. They sit in silence, staring at their phones in the evenings. They go out to dinner, and stare at their phones.
This obsession with our smartphones has become an epidemic, and society is in rapid decline. People care more about a tiny screen than each other. It makes for a very lonely existence, always being less important than whatever is on a handheld screen. Many times, I find myself sitting in silence, staring off into space, waiting for that moment when the phone is laid down or hoping the battery dies soon so I can get a few seconds of time. Most of the time, I feel invisible. So, I hide this pain in the same way everyone else does. I reach for my phone.
Don’t get me wrong, I am often just as guilty as the next person for checking my phone frequently. I will pick it up and quickly check my email or Facebook to see what is going on in the lives of the people I love. I check my phone when my other half steps out for a cigarette, or heads to the restroom. I often pick up my phone out of sheer boredom to play a game, or immediately reach for my phone to get the answer to a consuming question. Sometimes though, I wait. I wait for a conversation to start. I wait in silence, and pray for a dead battery. I miss conversation, and the intimacy of truly spending time with someone.
Yes, technology definitely has a dark side. It might bring some amazing innovations and improvements to life, but at what cost? Many people would rather spend time with a small device in their hands, than look into the eyes of someone they love. Technology is changing the world, but the price tag is steep. People are losing each other, and loneliness has become an epidemic by choice.