So currently I’m sitting on a bus en route to uni this morning. Instead of falling asleep like I usually would, I’m doing my best to stay awake so I can squeeze in a blog post. If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is!
Looking around me, I would say that about 80% of my fellow bus riders are looking down at an electronic screen in front of them. This got me thinking about how our phones, tablets and laptops are influencing our social nature in public situations.
Many people passionately argue that these devices are making us anti-social and isolated as they cause us to miss out on life and reality around us. They might have a point, as yes, no one on this bus is having a conversation with the passenger that sits next to them, and yes, the vast majority are somewhat oblivious to their surroundings. I too sit here with my eyes fixated on a screen, ignoring the fellow that sits beside me. But honestly, before these devices came to exist, was it really so different?
There are many more logical ways of explaining this ‘lack of social interaction’ instead of just jumping to the conclusion that technology is swallowing our souls. For example, before we carried phones or tablets on public transport, it was a book or a newspaper that grasped our attention. It is by no means a new notion that we wish find more productive and engaging things to do whilst on the commute. Furthermore, one of the very first lessons we are taught as kids is ‘do not talk to strangers’. We didn’t do it in the past, and we’re not about to start now. Thus, I do not think that new technologies are the blame.
Whilst travelling, these devices enable us to be a lot more fruitful with our time and lives. Instead of awkwardly talking to the stranger next to you, you can engage in a meaningful conversation with actual friends and family via Facebook. Instead of aimlessly watching the cars go by, you could catch up on your emails and take care of last minute work. In my case, instead of passing out and going to sleep on this cold and early morning, I can write a blog post!
Something for any technophobes out there to think about.