It's quite remarkably sad isn't it? That in order for me to keep a relationship healthy between friends I have to go onto Facebook or "Direct Message" them on Twitter or "like" one of their pictures on Instagram or "pop up" to them on Whatsapp or send quick message on Imessage or send them a 5 second picture on Snapchat. Too many "snaps" not enough real "chats". What happened to the good old dialling their number and ringing them? Or actually going into the fresh air, you know... outdoors, where there is an absence of screens. Where you actually have communicate with people to their face, reacting from their reactions and being able to know what their tone of voice means or if you ask how they are and they say "okay" they actually mean it. But instead, we judge that by how many kisses they may send us or what kind of Emoji they send us or whether they type "ok" "Ok." "okay" Okay" or "k".
The other day my Dad asked me that if us (youths) know that these sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Formspring etc are dangerous and that it is so easy for people to anonymously say something to you... anything, then why do we allow ourselves to go through the pain? Why do we pay attention? Why is it that we're known as the "Social Networking" generation and not just another "social" generation? He then said to me, it's like someone looking at a busy road. The chances are if you walk into the road, you're going to get hit and if you don't then you are lucky and have survived the danger. But why go into the road anyway?
It was difficult to answer him because he's only just recently learnt how to send an email and even doing that causes him difficulties. I remember high school was when social media was at its peek of importance for me. Those annoying status' that everyone does "Like this and I'll tell you what I like about you" and the number of likes you got confirmed how popular you were. Or how many people pressed "like" on your profile picture or how many you had on your friends list. It sounds so shallow now, and I would not consider myself a shallow person. But like so many I was swept up in this trend and would sometimes stare at a screen for six hours a day- no wonder I need glasses now.
What worries me is that I hear my peers say "the next generation will be so messed up". Two year old's are taught how to use an ipad before they're taught how to read and write. Words like "connect", "Buffer", "like", "subscribe" and many more are becoming so overtly used.
As a Customer Assistant I find it very interesting how un-sociable my generation is. And yet we're supposed to be the generation of social networkers right? Some kids won't even make eye contact. They'll look at the ground, and mumble what they would like, or stand behind their parents leg. I'm not talking about the typical shyness of a toddler, I'm talking about ten to sixteen year old's. Scary right? What's frightening is how uncomfortable they get when they put the money in my hand and our hands touch - skin to skin contact... real contact. They try to get out of their as quickly as they can, back to the comfort of their homes, behind a screen, where the technology does everything for them. It's no surprise that there's more and more films and TV series, such as Black Mirror, (which I recommend) and films where technology takes over the world are becoming so popular.
One thing that really struck me in Prince Ea's Video (link below), is that he mentions how we measure our self worth by how many likes or friends we have on these networking sites. Self worth. Not by how many human lives we affect through our everyday actions, not by how many smiles we put on a person's face or how creative our minds are... how people who we don't even know perceive our online profiles.
It's about time we stop caring so much about the things people are posting behind a screen with the keys of a message board. What people WANT you to look like, or what you SHOULD look and act like. Or how desirable we are to others so that they'll swipe right and not left on apps like Tinder, and start building real and raw relationships so that they will "like" your real personality and "follow" the advice you give them when they're in times of need and they'll "subscribe" to important events that happen in your life and be there for each other so you can "share" your experiences and "connect" with each other's emotions and "auto-correct" this ANTI-social networking generation.
Prince Ea's Video: