Why We’re Too Technology Obsessed

This weekend, I made a classic twenty-something mistake and lost my phone at the bar. I panicked on Sunday morning and left a message at the bar. They called a good friend of mine this morning and said that they had a few phones, one of which matched the description of mine. I have never been so happy in my entire life.

Which, if you think about it, is pretty sad. But I guarantee the owners of the other phones felt the same way. The last two days (has it really only been two days?!) without my phone have made me realize just how technology obsessed we are. And why it needs to stop.

1. We can’t have conversations in real life anymore.

When we talk to each other in real, non-digital life, it’s rarely ever uninterrupted. Someone is bound to be on their phone, texting or scrolling through their Twitter feed, instead of actually listening to what the other person is saying. It’s like our real life conversations are just the background music to our digital lives, and that’s just plain sad.

2. It’s okay to have important conversations via text now.

Remember when a text message break-up was the worst offense you could ever make? I swear, now we have more important conversations via text – or Facebook or whatever online medium you want to choose – than we do in real life. We have “the relationship talk” (you know the one, don’t lie) and we fight and we explain how we actually feel via text instead of meeting face-to-face. I once got a text about a family member passing away. A TEXT. And it’s totally okay now, because everybody does it.

3. We don’t really need to try.

Back in the day (a.k.a middle school), a boy actually had to call me – at home – to talk to me. And I remember sitting in my room, talking on the phone for hours after school. I guarantee my parents got mad and I probably ignored a few calls – when call waiting was a thing – but I wanted to talk to some boy who thought I was cute. Once I got a cell phone (most of us didn’t have cell phones at age 5 then, surprisingly) in 8th grade-ish, that all changed. Now, a guy will text you for five minutes and that’s that. Do people even make phone calls anymore?

4. We know a lot less about each other… But also a lot more.

Sure, we don’t spend hours on the phone with the person we’re interested in anymore. We don’t get to hear stories about their past or have mushy hopes-and-dreams chats right away. But now we can stalk each other on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and every other form of social media there is. It’s possible to know all you need to know about someone by creeping through their Facebook profile and reading their tweets from the last two days. You can know, in five minutes, who their best friends are and where they work and when their birthday is. And that’s really freaky if you stop to think about it.

5. We have a million more things to get uselessly jealous about.

Be honest. You’ve probably been in a relationship (or in that awkward not-a-relationship limbo) and gotten jealous about something you saw on Facebook. Maybe he became friends with that pretty girl from work or maybe she’s been chatting with that guy from her English class. It’s gotten ridiculous. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard, “Who is so-and-so? How do you know each other?”

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6. Your family knows everything.

We all have that one family member. The one that comments on your status with something like, “Hi __! I hope everything is going well. Do you like school? How is work? Tell your mom that I say hi okay!” In addition to that, some of us really lucky people have the kind of family that monitors everything we post. My parents – and grandparents – call me within five minutes if I post something slightly unclear or sad or happy. “What does your status mean?” “Who is that boy in your picture?” “Are you going out too much? I think you’re going out too much.” Thanks, technology.

7. Our attention spans are literally nonexistent.

Have you ever seen someone on their computer with only one tab open? Doubt it. When was the last time you watched a movie – A FULL MOVIE – with someone without them checking their phone? Not recently. It’s become nearly impossible to just sit and hang out or watch a movie. We have to also be texting or tweeting or reading random Buzzfeed articles. I’ll admit that I’m guilty of this too, and it definitely needs to stop.

Now that I think about it, maybe I’ll just leave my phone at the bar.

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