The Fall of Humanity

Above: RocketTimes Editor-in-Chief Trevor Anderson browses on his phone. Photo provided by Trevor Anderson

 

The dynamics of society continue to change as a result of smartphones and social media

 

The year is 2020, and it is now “acceptable” to be on a smartphone at the dinner table. Bright screens and social media have changed society’s values and will continue to impact our generation.

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in my room frantically trying to come up with new story ideas for the Rocket Times April issue. There I was, sitting on my phone, typing out ideas. It was late at night, and I was struggling. Out of nowhere, I realized that I had no idea where my phone was. After about five seconds, I realized that my phone was in fact in my hand, and thus, I now had a story idea.

Our generation, also known as Gen Z, has earned the nickname the “technology generation.” For the past few years, we have been both praised and judged because of technology’s role in our lives. While technology has made different aspects of our lives more convenient and efficient, it also could be leading to our downfall.

Personally, the biggest issue that I see with smartphones is that people no longer know how to communicate face-to-face. When people are in complicated situations, they are able to avoid their problems by sending text messages. When they do this, they are able to think longer and harder about their responses and hide from their problems. To many people, it is so much easier to send a text than have a conversation in person. Because of this, our generation has lost basic conversation skills, such as making eye contact.

Along with every electronic device comes a wide variety of social media platforms. Today, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok seem to be the most popular forms for people to use. In my time of using these applications, I have learned that they are great when it comes to keeping up with my friends and family. When I get bored, I can always count on them to entertain me. However, I have noticed that my “five-minute Instagram breaks” can easily turn into scrolling through pictures for 45 minutes.

Worldwide, the average person spends 144 minutes on social media a day. This is the kind of statistic that makes me upset with myself because I know that I fall into this category. Too often, I get carried away with keeping up with celebrities and the people around me, and I later regret how much time I wasted. When I have piles of homework and I have to stay up late at night, my time that I wasted on social media is the last thing that I want to think about. To me, this statistic is a reminder of time that I could have used to be productive in and will never get back.

Every once in awhile, spending time on our devices can be a nice way to kill time, but eventually, it can reach a point where it becomes excessive. In the past ten years, I have noticed how children are starting to be exposed to technology at younger ages. Nowadays when a child cannot stop crying, many parents’ first instinct is to hand them a tablet to calm them down. It has reached the point where I walk into restaurants and see children playing on iPads and iPhones while the rest of their family is interacting with one another. Electronic devices have taken a toll on quality family time.

In the past few years, depression and anxiety have become major issues that many people around the world experience. These illnesses have been around for ages, but social media has made them become more common and even bigger problems. For many people, social media has turned into their “highlight reel” where they depict their “perfect” lives. To me, it seems as if every picture or video has some kind of edit on it, hiding people’s flaws. When we see posts like this, humans have the tendency to become self-conscious.  

Instead of focusing on our own lives, our generation gets caught up in the lives of our friends, family, and celebrities on their social media accounts. This is especially true when it comes to Snapchat. Snapchat allows people to post pictures and videos for all of their friends to see. Today, I have come to notice how Snapchat has turned into a major platform for bragging. For example, humanity has reached the point where people feel the need to post 30 minutes of footage from concerts on their Snapchat stories for everyone to see. People pay hundreds of dollars to see concerts and end up just being on their phones the whole time. Personally, I would rather save the money and wait to watch other people’s Snapchat stories. When I go to a concert or a sporting event, I am focused on living in the moment, rather than documenting everything on my phone.

Earlier this month, I was in a funky mood and was extremely stressed. When I would get on Snapchat, I would see pictures and videos of my friends hanging out together, and I felt left out from the group. Because of this, I decided to delete Snapchat for a week, and this proved to be a great decision. That week, I had several big tests and college to think about, and I knew that social media was making my life so much harder. Instantly, I felt like a massive amount of weight was lifted off of my shoulders. For that week, I was only concerned with my life, and that was all I needed.

At this point in writing, I have already picked up my phone 11 times. In other words, I have been distracted and have given in to temptation 11 times. Not only has my smartphone made this story so much harder to write, it has also made my life more difficult. At the end of the day, face-to-face communication cannot be beat. In the years to come, there will continue to be more technological advancements made. My only hope with these advancements is that humanity will take a break every now and then to appreciate the world that we have around us. Our world is too incredible for us to live on our screens.

 

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