Serena Gainda looks into how technology makes us anti- social, and how some people argue the opposite. 

Technology is at the centre of our modern lifestyles- the absolute core, the beating heart which without we’d surely fail to function.  Once introduced to the convenience technology provides us, it’s hard to imagine reverting back to a place without it. However, it is the growth of social media that distinguishes our generation and its technology from the last. We are hooked on the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Treated like extensions of our arms, phones travel with us everywhere in order to keep us indulged in the online realm.  However, whether you post the occasional status or abuse our newsfeeds, can you really be considered ‘social’ through online platforms? While you’re waiting at one of the campus bus stops, reading through the latest memes that promise to be funny but leave you less than amused, could you be talking to the fellow student next to you? Perhaps they’re on your course and you haven’t noticed them before, perhaps they were the person that danced next to you at FND, could you know if you don’t strike up a conversation? I suppose you could find out these minor details on Facebook but you’d have to know their name first (unless you’re a pro online stalker…) In other words, does our relationship with technology make us anti-social?

Some of us may argue we are social. I mean, look at the pictures you’ve been uploading on Facebook- you obviously have some form of social life to display. Yes, your pictures certainly convey a good time. Your profile page may be littered with an array of group selfies! However, some people interrupt social activities in order to take a picture and the whole night is experienced through your phone’s camera lens. I once remember wanting to take a picture in front of a beautiful monument but was so obsessed with capturing the picture perfectly that I forgot to appreciate what was there in front of me. If you are with your friends, maybe put your phone away. You can snap some pictures but don’t let your phone run the night.

Phones are a great safety device- the solution to awkward silences. In seminars and lectures, during breaks, notice how students whip out their phones and begin absent-mindedly scrolling through their newsfeeds or texts. Yes, it can be a bit uncomfortable trying to strike up a conversation with other students who don’t inhabit the ‘close-friend’ circle, so you feel inclined to appear ‘busy’. Forget the easy way. Put away your phone and maybe instigate a conversation with the fellow phone-lover beside you. Your social skills will expand and you may even make a good friend. Your social circle can always be stretched to accommodate a few more. Phones are nifty devices that keep the world connected, give you access to a world of information and have a number of entertaining apps. However, using them to avoid social situations or excessively within social situations can make us anti-social. Many of us could do with a reduction of time spent on our phones, so give it a go and see what benefits arise. The world can be a beautiful, sociable and entertaining place beyond the screen, if you just look up…

Serena Gainda


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