Are you reading this on your phone?

There is a high chance that you are – approximately 3 million phones are sold daily, with no less than 4 billion in use. The average person checks their phone 110 times a day. This does sound like a lot, however, even I tend to pick up my phone a time too many. Yet, is this development in technology obstructing the concept of socializing – or is it encouraging it?

Personally, I feel incredibly shut out when I try talking to someone whose eyes are glued to their phone. Even though some that argue phones are  lavish tools used in numerous countries and various time zones as a means of communication – with the updates, apps, games and internet, we seem to look beyond communication and utilize our phones for comfort. It is thanks to mobile phones that we feel connected, even when we are unaccompanied. Have we become reliant on them to provide entertainment and instant gratification forcing us to believe that a virtual world appears to be more enticing?

Recently, I read an article by Nick Bilton titled, “Disruptions: More Connected, Yet More Alone,” which describes a two-minute YouTube video called “I Forgot My Phone”, viewed more than 15 million times, that comments on our smartphone-obsessed culture. The scenes follow Charlene DeGuzman, a comedian and actress, through a dystopian day. People disregard her presence as they are more concerned with their phones. This general pattern is repeated during a concert, a birthday party and even a proposal, where the man who proposes is trying to record the moment. The video is unsettling as it chastises us about our addiction to that miniature screen, implying that life is better led when it is viewed rather than lived. Shocking as it is, I believe this may be true.

As our means of communication develops through social media, I believe we need to re-evaluate our social needs and decide whether Twitter, Instagram or Facebook can provide them. Social media may seem like a resplendent tool, however, I have realized that a real social network provides what an online social network cannot; true human connection. No matter how many people online can “like” our latest post, when it comes to friends, quantity does not guarantee quality.

My phone does not control my life. Does yours?

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