Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
Do you realise how much time all of us spend in front of a screen? Computer, laptop, tv, phone screens. Half of our day is spent facing a screen, rapidly scrolling, typing, reading.
Social media, and I mean Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest that you could spend ages on, liking and commenting, waiting for likes and response. Waiting for the assurance that, yes, I matter. You get only 50 likes? I don’t matter much. You hit a 100? Wow I’m popular.
Our days are lived looking for reassurances from virtual screens. But then, aren’t people terrifying face-to-face?
You hide behind a screen and pretend to have a life. In fact, in today’s world you only have a life if you’re omnipresent online. For some, you are the real you only when people can’t see you, or when you’re anonymous.
I was standing in my balcony two floors up from the ground. I saw two friends walking and separating at a point. One went back, the other crossed the road. Within three seconds both have their head facing the clouds and eyes boring into their phones. It has become a shield, these phones. I, myself, sometimes pretend to be doing something in it as to not seem retarded or lonely in public. There are numerous pedestrians walking alone and yet, 9 out of 10 of them clutch a phone in their hands even though they have a pocket or a purse. Checking your phone very few seconds has become the norm.
Oh how have we become so that these handheld devices have our attention occupied more than a friend walking towards you from the other side. It is very easy to pretend as if you didn’t notice someone on the street while on your phone to avoid saying hello or an awkward interaction.
Screens have taken over our lives so subtly you can’t imagine going to your friend’s house nearby to take notes instead of asking them to send pictures. A friend of mine today, found it hard to believe that even though my mobile was connected to the internet, I wasn’t on it. I replied to her message hours later (I noticed sooner but didn’t want to reply) and I get a dumbfounded response.
I got a new bookshelf today and transferred all my books from my previous smaller one. I haven’t posted about it online yet, or even a picture of how it looks; my friends complain about how they never know what’s going on in my life. The other day my friend gave me a hurt reaction when I said I uninstalled the facebook, tumblr and instagram apps on my phone. She asks me how she’s supposed to show me all the good pictures and posts now. Do I have to see them? No. Her follow up question is what I’m going to do with all my time now.
I admit, I used to be that person for a while too, when I first got my own phone. I was obsessed with it. Even now I wouldn’t go anywhere farther than 5 min from my home without my phone. My parents don’t leave the room without theirs. I am addicted to my phone, if not the internet. I hate it, but I don’t change.
We can do so much on these palm-sized devices! The world is basically ours when we’re on our computers. I crave to go out and make up small excuses to leave home because I’m bored or want to breathe fresh air, but then I notice that the Wi-Fi is on.
There was this story in a magazine when I was around 7 or 8 years old. It was published in Tamil, my native language. My mum read it to me and it’s so true. Computers and electronic devices are portrayed as a type of living beings, with thoughts and feelings and how humans don’t know it. The story revolves around how we use computers so much and don’t let them rest. They finally decide to strike and one day, the whole world’s computers shut down. They stopped working. They wanted us to figure out to work without them and the struggle by humans was shown. We were confused, lost. Slowly in a couple months we learned to keep book records and research through books, and manage daily lives. Finally, the computers decided we have learnt our lesson and start working again. Humans are ecstatic, but continue to print and keep physical records. We don’t trust the computers not to shut down again, we become a little independent from them.
It was a really good short story and I think about it a lot. I don’t make myself rid of my phone-addiction, I just think and wonder, because that’s not going to happen, right? Unless there’s a really huge power cut…
We are living in an era of screens. We cannot NOT be like this with all the technology improvements and also demand because of instant international communication. Sending letters just takes too long. Several emails can be exchanged in minutes. Doesn’t mean we should spend the whole day in front of a screen. We must try to minimise the amount of time. Mostly, I’m worried that in another couple generations every child will be wearing spectacles or contacts due to eye strain by the time they reach their teens.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!