It’s a sunny, warm day. You and your friends are having a good time chatting about life and telling funny stories, but then over time you notice that the conversation is slowly getting quieter and quieter, until finally you are the only person that is interested in keeping conversation.
You look around and try to spark up another conversation only to find that everybody is having some sort of conversation of their own, on their mobile phones.
People between 15 and 19 spend on average at least three hours per day on social media platforms, mainly Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. That is 1095 hours, 45.6 days a year that people of this age are spending on social media. That is not including texting and games. A very wise man called Albert Einstein once said: “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” I feel this quote is now more relevant than ever with the knowledge of how much time today’s youth and future is wasting on a screen; social media that, actually, at the end of the day, is worthless, addictive and mean nothing in “real” life.
How much time do you think that you have spent on social media this week? Now, how much of that time was productive? Did it benefit you at all? The real question is: how much of it was a waste of time? Instead of going on social media, could you have been doing something productive? Do your Facebook friends really care “what’s on your mind”? At the end of the day, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and all the other social media sites are just a massive black bottomless pit of time-wasting. People argue that it’s great for communicating and catching up with friends, but it is only such a tiny part of our time where people communicate – most of the time is spent scrolling down a news feed in search of funny photos or videos. If we didn’t go on social media, we would be spending a lot more time with our friends. “Isn’t it ironic, how touch screens make us lose touch?” is said in the poem ‘Can We Auto-Correct Humanity’. These social sites are not social, no, they are anti-social and nobody really cares “what’s on your mind”. These sites are a massive waste of time and don’t help you get anywhere in life – if anything, they hold you back because you are just sitting on a couch or lying in bed, not doing anything productive.
The average person spends four years of their life looking down at their phone. That is four years of not paying attention to what is going on around you. When you wake up in the morning what is the first thing that you do? Check the weather? Nah, I bet nearly all of you check if you have received any notifications overnight and inject your morning dose of internet. You then may go on to post “good morning friends”, a picture of your fancy coffee or breakfast, or you might even tell the world what’s on your mind. I’m not telling you all of this because I’m a stalker and know what you do every morning, I’m telling you this because I know from experience. I, too, was a victim of this drug, I know how addictive it is. You feel the need to go online and see what everybody on your “friends” list is talking about. It wasn’t until my phone broke that I realised how unnecessary and addictive these sites are.
It makes me sad that people are so addicted to these sites, and to get “likes” they will sell their body and self-respect. Parents would rather film their baby’s first steps than actually experience it first-hand and enjoy the moment. Nowadays if you go to a concert you’ll see the whole crowd lit up by cellphone lights. How are you going to have a good time when you are focused on getting the best angles to film with, just to show your friends how much of a fun time you had? Social media is an addictive “social” trap filled with irony; you claim to be socialising but really you haven’t said a word for hours.
How many friends do you have on Facebook? How many of them do you hang out with regularly? How many of them do you even know well enough to stop them down the street and have a good conversation with? I know for a fact that over half of your friends on Facebook aren’t even your friends in “real life”, half of your “friends” could not care less “what’s on your mind”, and I’m exactly the same.
I have about 500 friends on Facebook, I know about 400 of them, I like about 300 of them; 50 of them I would call my friends and four of them I hang out with in my spare time. So is it true to say “I have 500 friends”? The number of friends or “likes” that you have on social media has absolutely nothing to do with your everyday normal life; people with more likes aren’t living in a better world than you. Once you look away from that tiny little screen that is in the palm of your hand you will straight away be able to see how many friends you really have.
I have been saying that technology is a drug, but another drug that humans get hooked on is fame. People do stuff on social media that they would never do in real life – it turns people into low-key porn stars just for 500 likes. However, do you think that 500 likes will be worth it when your parents and grandparents somehow stumble across their sweet innocent baby girl posting half-naked photos of themselves on the internet? Don’t put so much trust in the internet. Anyone can see anything on the internet, it’s not a safe place even if the website assures you it is. Just being yourself won’t get you thousands of likes on the internet, but it will get you real friends that you have for life. Nobody is going to remember you for how many likes you got. They will however remember what stupid thing you did to get them.
Our world as we know it is changing faster than we can keep track of and will continue changing as technology and social media advances. Humans are already becoming too brainwashed and addicted to stop this from becoming a problem. Just this morning I saw on the news that a teenage boy has died because he was trying to get a cool picture for Instagram by hanging off a building. This is an example of the heights people are going to for attention on social media and it’s only going to get worse. There is a simple way out of this solution. STOP. Stop looking at your phones more than your friends when you go to their house. Stop filming the concert and live in the moment. STOP. But that part is up to you. After all, it is your life, so, are you going to live or are you going to show your friends photos of you “living”?
What’s on your mind?
Ziggy Knuiman L2