“Can we just talk?”(music) This is simply the start of a song by famous artist Khalid. If you ask this to somebody today in 2020, the answer would more likely resemble “Sorry can’t talk right now, I’m busy.” When was the last time a person asked you how you were doing? What was your response?” Oh, I’m good.” And then you and the other person go your separate ways. Why is it that in 2020 a person whom you may consider to be a friend receives such a monotonous one-word response; while at the same time your friend who asked this simple question probably does not expect even a five-minute response from you. While I hold no hard evidence to these theories (of what your interactions with other humans are like), I definitely believe that through my experiences people nowadays--especially those in Gen-Z--tend to lack the ability to hold hard, deep, even intellectual conversations with others. This led me to the conclusion that due to social media platforms, and mobile phones in general, the fact that people are always in constant contact with others has produced a“security blanket” around social interaction. Since people are always interacting online there has become less of a need to reach out in person. How can someone of my age believe they are ready to go off to college, and essentially start a career when they are unable to engage in a ten-minute conversation with a “friend” about how their week went, or how they are feeling about being stuck in quarantine. This is a pressing problem, and it needs to be fixed. According to The Washington Post, psychologist Doreen Dodgen-Magee writes, “the average US adult spends more than 11 hours daily in the digital world.” Since humans are spending more time behind a screen than with their own family, consequently a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh, reinforces that, “young adults who use seven to 11 social media platforms had more than three times the risk of depression and anxiety than those who use two or fewer platforms.” So you may think that social networking is the more efficient way to communicate or interact with others, but evidently, if you are feeling alone it is probably because you are on your phone.
What else do you need to hear? Isn’t there enough evidence that the amount of time we spend online, in a virtual world, is simply ridiculous? I hate to break it to you, but have you considered that you may be a victim to the negative effects of technology: where you struggle to hold a conversation with someone else for more than thirty seconds or are afraid of being alone in a public place for the fear of seeming lonely or uncool, prompting you to constantly be on your phone. This needs to end. If we fail to recognize the negative effects technology has on us all, then eventually we are going to live the rest of our lives in virtual worlds where we no longer have a perception of reality, like in the movie Ready Player One. Instead of focusing so much on what is happening on the screen in front of you, take the time to look at the world around you and recognize that you are on this Earth for a reason--make the most of it while you are here. Technology will always remain, but the memories you can create now won’t last forever, so seize the opportunity and check your phone later. Take the time to ask your parents their plans for the day, or tell your friend I want to meet up, in person, and talk about everything that has been going on in the world today. Make new connections with people and strengthen the relationships that you already have. We must recognize our own convictions in order to make better progress. So try as best you can to interact with others in a more personal, genuine matter, because in the end, if you take your relationships for granted then you will fail to realize when they are gone.
Greenwood, Chelsea. “9 Subtle Ways Technology Is Making Humanity Worse.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 23 Aug. 2019, www.businessinsider.com/technology-negative-bad-effects-society-2019-8.