Social media and technology take over daily life

By: Kendra Thorstenson

 

Social media…What do you think about it? It is so great that we are more connected than ever. We can see what our friends are doing 24/7. I have never felt so updated and informed about what is going on in my family and friends’ lives. Technology is truly amazing. But I would like for you to answer a couple of questions honestly for me. Are you consumed by social media? Most people would say no they are not, but I disagree. So here are a couple of questions to ask yourself to help determine if you are consumed. Consumed in this case, means to have your mind or attention be completely occupied or absorbed.

Do you get mad when your phone battery dies? Does it bother you when you don’t have service? Could you go without your phone for a day or week? Does not being able to check Facebook and see what all of your friends are doing make you irritable? Does social media keep you from your homework, family time or friends? Do you get less sleep because you’ve got to check out Facebook, Instagram and Twitter before going to bed?

What difference does it make how many Facebook friends you have, how many Instagram followers or how many retweets you have on Twitter. What value does that have? When you stop and think about it, it’s almost silly. The sentences that have come out of our mouths as a result from social media are not uplifting in any way. Statements like, “I cannot believe she didn’t follow me back” or “I cannot believe he/she liked that picture on Facebook.” Who cares?

When did a screen become more important than a person? Why has it become okay to ignore the people you are with physically to devote your attention to words and pictures on a screen? When was the last time you had an uninterrupted conversation with anyone? It’s so rare nowadays to have a conversation face to face where you look each other in the eye with no distractions.

Technology is truly amazing. But it can be an amazing way to waste time, isolate yourself and disrespect the people you are with tangibly so I will ask the question again. Are you consumed by social media? Maybe you aren’t and that is great, but I would say America, in general, is. Just take a look around. What do people do when they have a free moment? I have been noticing for college students it is a constant thing. While walking to class, before class, after class and a lot of times, even during class students are on some type of device. We have become satisfied to text and see what’s going on in the social media world instead of developing relationships with the people around us.

What should we do? What would your life look like if you cut out all social media time? I don’t know how many times I’ve said I’m just going to quick check Facebook, thinking it will only take five minutes. But, those five minutes can turn into a half an hour pretty quick. Think of how much extra time you would save by eliminating it. Now I think that is a bit radical, but I encourage you to limit your time spent in the cyber world. I think you will be amazed at how quickly you can get stuff done, by putting down that phone and focusing on the task at hand. Also, I found I am happier when I limit social media time. Second, I challenge you to engage your ears and eyes the whole time you talk to someone. This means you are listening and looking at the person. Often times we trade one or the other. Last, be proactive and speak up when you see too much technology and not enough interaction.

My younger sister Jana made a phone basket, and sometimes when we have friends over she makes everyone put their phone in the basket as they walk in. There is a sign on the side of the basket that says, “Be with the people that are HERE.” We all laugh and think it’s funny, but it is kind of sad too. This is what our culture has become. So, what do you think about phones and social media? Are we really more connected than ever, or are we more lonely, addicted and enslaved than ever? Technology is truly amazing. How will you use it?Kendra is majoring in advertising. She can be reached at [email protected]