Today it seems impossible to walk down the street without bumping into someone looking down. They are not looking at the ground though, but instead their attention is focused on the smart phone in hand. Has society become so reliant on their phones that they don’t remember what it is like to interact with a real person? Are we putting our health and wellbeing at risk by staring at a screen all day?
I was sitting in a food court during one lunch break recently. When I looked around, almost everyone was on their phones. Yes, even those who were in couples or groups. There was no face to face conversation going on. They all had their heads down typing away, lost in cyber land.
The smart phone is a great invention, don’t get me wrong. It enables us to do business on the run, book appointments, do the banking – oh, and it makes telephone calls as well. Yet when we let it take over our lives, the problems begin. People become socially isolated because they have lost the art of face to face communicaion.
From a young age, children are handed a smartphone, or other device, as a way of keeping them occupied. They were silent and content to browse, so what was the problem? Little did anyone know how addictive those devices would become and children would come to depend on them for social support. Children became teenagers and soon discovered everything they wanted could be found on the device.
The smart phone had turned society into robots where talking to one another became a challenge and uncomfortable unless it was through electronic means.
If you invited someone to dinner, the idea was that you would talk to one another. In person, without the aid of a small rectangle object in your hand. However, restaurants became full of couples and business people staring longer at their phone than each other.
Not only was verbal communication impacted, so was written communication. There are so many shortcuts and abbreviations when typing a message or on a social media post. These shortcuts slowly crept into official business correspondence. Poor grammar, awkward sentence structure and spelling mistakes seemed to increase.
How many social media comments or posts have you seen with poor spelling and grammar?
Before the invention of the smart phone, actually not so long ago, people did talk to each other face to face. It improved their communication skills, increased confidence and there were no crossed messages. It was hard to misinterpret a message when you communicated in person. Whereas a typed message sent back and forth was open to mis-interpretation. A typed message is just words on a screen, with no emotion attached and the receiver could interpret it anyway they wanted.
Next time you step out for coffee or catch up with friends or family, leave the smart phone in your bag. Your social media channels can wait. It is time to remember what a real face to face conversation felt like.
You may discover that not only your friendships grow, but your confidence in talking to people will increase.
All pictures courtesy of Google Clip Art Gallery