It is true the world has become a global village thanks to its advanced technology, which drastically increased over the past few decades. Nowadays, one could readily get connected to the rest of the world solely by using electronic devices, such as laptops, tablets and smart phones. One of the appalling and astonishing traits of such plastic-ware is the ability to disseminate information and news overseas at the drop of a hat.
However, these devices are not necessarily a full package of gifts given to their users; in fact, they are double-edged swords that affect the social well-being of many users. Therefore, users should be cautious about the moment when and when not to use such devices. They should bear in mind every misusage or over-usage can cost them dearly since smart phones may undermine, shorten and threaten the face to face communication among family members and friends and among partners and lovers. For example, being emotionally and physically attached to a smart phone during the whole day will sabotage many relationships between members of social communities due to the urge to check the small screens now and then. As a result, those social communities will dissolve into parts where its members may look like strangers to one another.
According to the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture, many relationships were affected by the extensive use of smart phones. The online poll was conducted by researchers from Penn and Brigham University in which 143 women were interviewed and asked whether or not smart phones interfere with their intimate relationships. The findings were shocking as 74 percent acknowledged they were interrupted by their partner’s smart phone while sharing a special moment around dinner table. Hence, it seems when there is a tendency for checking devices and texting virtual friends, it is also very likely the counterpart may feel abandoned if not hurt.
Many years ago, my father introduced a golden rule to our family’s table manner etiquette; he put a ban on using smart phones during family meals-chiefly lunch and supper-which seem to be the main meals in each Moroccan family in which every family member is bound to attend. We also were not allowed to use our gadgets during very significant occasions, such as religion feasts. The idea behind this golden rule is to keep up with the traditions and heritage of our ancestors when in days of yore table meals were a chance of socializing and having heated discussions with members of the family.
It is of paramount importance to spend quality time face to face with friends and relatives rather than scrolling through social media. By doing so, you will share social values with everyone. In golden days Aristotle stated that “man is essentially a social animal by nature.” This implies that human-beings are meant to thrive and flourish among society, but unfortunately when you look around, you soon become aware on the spur of the moment how people are glued and welded on to their smart phones.
Brandon T. McDaniel of The Pennsylvania State University said that “this is likely a circular process that people become trapped in where allowing technology to interfere, even in small ways, in one’s relationship at least sometimes causes conflict, which can begin to slowly erode the quality of their relationship,” Indeed, many relationships have been under major strain, and several couples have seriously argued because of smart phone addiction. Some of them have even reached the end of the line.
Not many moons ago, I attended a family court-session which was open to students who were interested in family code legislation. It was a great sunny Thursday in April, at the hall of the court where hordes of people ebbed and flowed. I entered the main room and sat on the last row waiting for the case to commence. It turned out that a young couple filed for legal separation and stood up in front of the judge to face their doomed day solely because of the excessive use of the smart phone by the husband. The wife who seemed well educated was downright motivated and adherent to get her divorce. She voiced her husband was married to his smart-phone, instead. What is even worse is she felt herself being objectified, and her role was limited to the kitchen and the bedroom. On the other hand, her husband testified he was totally obsessed by his gadget although he tried many times to minimize its use but to no avail.
It is also worth pointing out many hobbies and activities are on decline since smart phones have preoccupied humans’ lives. Let us consider the example of niche tourism where tourists are supposed to enjoy the attraction and the view of certain destinations. The fact is that tourists seem less enthusiastic to learn some backgrounds and historical events of the attraction. Instead, they become more involved in taking quick snapshots or selfies that could possibly trigger the jealousy of others. So, in a rush they upload those snapshots on social media and wait for likes and comments from their virtual friends. Not to mention those who merely stay connected in prestige hotels for the whole vacation. Consequently, after the end of their tourist journey they find themselves possessing nothing more than some pictures which later will vanish from their minds. Even when they try to walk down the memory lane, they would not find any sturdy moment to recall.
Having said all this does not mean-to a great extent-that we should campaign and fight against technology or deprive ourselves from its handful advantages. In this regard, we may question ourselves who is to be blamed?
I surmise the answer is obvious to everyone who uses his critical thinking. The key is to redress the balance when it comes to our gadgets as not to interfere with our social relationships. According to T. McDaniel, “we should all stop to think about whether our own daily technology use might be frustrating at times to our family members. Couples should talk about this and set some mutually agreed upon rules. It may be helpful to block out times of the day when they will turn their devices off and just focus on one another.”
All in all, smart phones were invented to add a value in the favor of the users, not to make their lives miserable. Therefore, a rational use is required to prevent any prospect misunderstanding between couples and generally among society. Let us socialize with one another; let us get to know each other and switch off and disconnect our smart phones for a while and get back to our social norms.
Daria, K. (2015). Connections Are not Conversations While Technology Enables It Can Also Interfere. The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/connections-arent-conversations-while-technology-enables-it-can-also-interfere-51689
Hiyaguha, C. (2014). Smartphones Killing Relationships. Natural Health Blog. Retrieved from https://jonbarron.org/happiness-mental-health/smartphones-killing-relationships
Marjorie, S. M. (2014). Disconnected Study Suggests Technology Interferes Couple. PennState News. Retrieved from http://news.psu.edu/story/337901/2014/12/10/research/disconnected-study-suggests-technology-interferes-couple