I'm worried about us. Smartphones have ruined everything. We've managed to achieve the unachievable; we don't communicate anymore. Or we do, but not face to face. I sit on the tube only to watch a panorama view of commuters face down engrossed in their phone. As the journey progresses, their heads bowing lower and lower; only looking up when their tube stop has approached. I walk down the street having to dodge people mid-text like human-bowling pins. Yesterday I sat in a restaurant next to two young girls who were so engrossed in their texting that they didn't utter a single word for their entire meal. It's an enigma really; your telephone is the very thing that 'connects' you to the world, yet it's social suicide.
Recent research shows that our phones are proven to be affecting the way we talk, think, have sex, eat and even go to the loo. We have become slaves to technology, only this time, our hands are handcuffed to our phones. Those red circular icons on our home screens have become our very own version of a newborn baby crying out for attention.
Statistically, one in five people check their phones every ten minutes. It is the most successful form of procrastination. Nine out of ten people admit that checking their phones has become part of their morning ritual. Wake up, brush teeth, shower, sit on the tube and scroll through your various apps and news feeds until you feel satisfied enough to face the day ahead.
I've come to the conclusion that money (and phones) are the route of all evil. Smartphones are to blame for our evaporating attention spans and our social skills have suffered because of it. When we do decide to talk about how we feel it's likely to be done in the form of an emoji; a thumbs up or a flamenco dancer (the latter is the world's most used icon, weirdly). Our words have been reduced to symbols. No one has time for sentences. We have become a generation of impatient and obsessive individuals.
We have made ourselves contactable at any point throughout the day and therefore our privacy demolished. We complain about Facebook's messenger update, yet we lay our social soles bare every day of the week. I notice these traits in myself; I'm speaking as both an observer and a culprit. My inability to complete a news article, or to ignore my phone when I hear it vibrate is something I'm very aware of. My will power has died, along with my attention span. Admittedly, I find it hard to have a good meal these days without stopping to take a photo of it. Why? I don't even understand it myself. What difference does it make if people see how wonderfully frothy my cappuccino is? It's pathetic.
People like reading their Facebook news feed first thing in the morning and last thing at night. This reliance on knowing the whereabouts of your online community is clouding your vision of what is actually important. Just as we condemn reality television, we have swapped real-life entertainment for social-networking's fairytale version. Couples are more likely to be sitting on a sofa together scrolling through their twitter feeds, rather than communicating with each other. Spending time with someone now means being in the same room as them but doing different things, usually online.
Remember that quote, 'stop to smell the roses'? If we don't take a moment to look up from our phones once in a while, you might just miss the beauty of life taking place all around you. There's much more to be found in taking note of your surroundings rather than your friends' recent relationship status. We all know that people's online profiles aren't even an accurate portrayal of themselves, but rather the person they want to be perceived as. It's important that we take some time to engage in real life, not the artificial one in our hand. Playing on your phone is not a pass-time and it's turning our brains to goo.
There are all kinds of causes that our phones have helped raise awareness of. How about we nominate each other to take part in 'no networking days' for a few hours each week? That would be in aid of our own mental health, obviously.