Recently, I came across a friend who was very much engrossed in his smartphone. In fact, he was interacting more with the phone than me. I jokingly challenged him to stay off his smartphone for a week — like completely off (maybe, use a basic phone just for calls!) He laughed at it; I told him that I was serious and we could involve some money in the bet too. His face changed and he said, “I could stay off food for a week not my phone.” And continued texting away. This got me thinking, how and when did a smartphone become more important to a human life than food? (Well technically, it isn’t because you’d die if you don’t eat!)
So, I wanted to know if a lot of people feel the same. I asked a lot of people — friends, family and acquaintances. And I came with an answer and it was an overwhelming ‘Yes!’ There are many different types of people that you meet, and chances are most of them feel like their lives revolve around their phones. I’m talking about smartphones; it might as well be anything else — their laptops or the ‘internet’ (or WiFi), or the Whats App, Facebook, anything else… We are so involved and caught up in this virtual society; it feels like we are trapped.
The reason for this is people don’t know what they want unless told. You give someone (who hasn’t used a laptop) a laptop and tell them, this is an absolute need and that they would find it extremely helpful, they WILL believe you. In fact, a couple of weeks down the line, they’d be inseparable from the laptop and probably thank you for introducing them to it. This is exactly what advertising companies do; they lead you to believing that you need something even if you actually don’t. Look at our parents who didn’t have smartphones/laptops/TVs when they were growing up, and they turned out just fine.
Yes yes, I understand these innovations have their advantages but is it really something worth giving up food (Being metaphorical here!) for?
It is not. Simple as that. The phone that you use is a tool to make your life easier, a device to reduce your workload and thereby reduce stress. It is nothing more than a piece of finely crafted microprocessor, micro-controllers and other circuits to make you deal with your tasks better. But right now these instruments are causing anxiety, depression and make an individual question the purpose of their existence. The number of likes for your photo matters more than the way you conduct yourself in public and the tweet with the maximum number of re-tweets is having a greater impact than the rightful opinions of the masses.
We are so easily influenced, so easily manipulated, so easily tricked into believing anything that is thrown at us. We have been naive, malleable and really really stupid. But we can change that — stop letting the keyboard warriors to tell you that you aren’t good enough, stop thinking the number of likes on that photo is a measure of your beauty, stop letting the companies fool you and trick you into believing that you ‘need’ their product. And make sure that you only buy the things that you absolutely need and not because your friends have bought it or because the society thinks you need it.
Stay informed. Be smart.