Cat’s Chats: Loneliness of technology

Catherine Irvine, Editor-in-Chief

With smartphones and social media sites like snapchat, Twitter and Instagram available to almost everyone, technology has become a huge part of daily life. It is easy to spend hours scrolling through timelines and sending messages back and forth. Social media has allowed us to connect, share posts with and message friends. But does social media truly connect us all, or does it just bring us farther apart? In my experience, social media is a distraction from real interaction and decreases the quality of my time.

While it is entertaining to take ugly selfies and send them to my best friend, it provides no true connection between us. When I post a picture of myself to Instagram, it adds no value to the experience except a number of likes. When I tweet out a post about liking cats or Christmas lights, it does nothing to form a relationship between myself and another person.

What does form connections with other people, is going to a bonfire, eating dinner out together or working on a school project. Face-to-face interactions are the best ways to develop socially and form connections with other people. Even though these ways are perfect for social interactions, all it takes is a ‘ding’ from a phone to distract someone.

Social media and phones, which were made to connect people, create a distance between us. Most of us feel the need to immediately check or reply to alerts that pop up on our phone screens. When going to the mall, eating out, seeing a movie or walking the halls at school, if you take the time to look up from your own screen, you will notice all the bent over heads and lack of conversation between friends. Phones distract us from each other.

Not only does social media distract people from each other, but it simply takes up so much time. This month, I downloaded an app that tracks how many hours and minutes my phone is on and I’m using it. I was horrified on the first day when it showed I had wasted a total of eight hours. Those hours could have been used to develop a skill, finish homework, get a job or hang out with a group of friends. I could not help but be disappointed in myself when I could only get the hours down to five. Social media can truly be an addiction. Social media can also create a longing for an unrealistic type of life.

“Social media is addictive precisely because it gives us something which the real-world lacks: it gives us immediacy, direction, a sense of clarity and value as an individual,” David Amerland, British journalist, said.

This new generation of people growing up with social media has created a society where we can instantly share our thoughts and ideas, but also one where consequences are not considered and relationships are weaker.

Luckily, there is a simple solution to this. When going out, shut your phone off. Believe it or not, we can survive a few hours without knowing everything a Kardashian ate that day or seeing that one cute picture some boy you had in one of your classes just posted to Instagram. Enjoy those around you. Have a conversation about the weather. View your life through your own eyes and not your phone screen.