It’s tragic but every time our phone doesn’t have load or our internet connection at home is bad, we feel “disconnected” from the world. It makes us feel like we’re standing on a deserted island with the other islands being far away and unreachable. It feels like there is so little we can do, all because we can’t text (or call) and we can’t Google anything we need to know right now.
It’s sad because we shouldn’t be thinking that way. Of course, this is not to belittle what these technological gizmos can do for us. Yes, they are important, but if we seriously think about it, they are NOT that important.
When Jose Rizal was trying to fight the injustices of the Spaniards, there was no Facebook and no Twitter upon which to launch a campaign against the Spanish friars. No cell phones to call other Filipinos (especially Andres Bonifacio or Gen. Luna) to back him up, and no Google to get information on the people he wanted to do “battle” with. But Rizal succeeded.
When Mahatma Gandhi pursued his ‘non-violent resistance’ crusade against the British defense force, there was no internet connection. Yet, the entire world knew about what he was doing in raising the dignity of his fellow Hindus and what he did to defy the inhumane treatment of the British invaders intruding in his native India. And yes, just like Rizal, he succeeded.
A 2012 study conducted by the Pew Research Center came out with these results on mobile phone and TV use:
- 84% of cell phone users claim they could not go a single day without their device
- 67% of cell phone owners check their phone for messages, alerts, or calls — even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating
- 88% of consumers use mobile devices as a second screen even while watching television
- Almost half of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls
- Traditional TV viewing eats up over six days (144 hours, 54 minutes) worth of time per month
This is just for cell phone use and watching television, what about other gadgets? While this study was carried out with US consumers as respondents, we know that the results of that study also reflect Filipinos’ over-attachment with technological contraptions.
What’s the point? The point is — we can still get connected without these connections. The ugly truth is, these “connections” have actually “disconnected” us not just from the whole world but from the very people we should always be connected with — our families and/or love ones and friends.
Example: There is this closely-knit family who always take the time out for bonding (dinners, camping, beach-outing, etc). The husband is a very busy man while the wife, though not as busy as the husband, is a working woman who has a lot of responsibilities outside the home. One night, they were seen (together with the children) having dinner in one of the plush restaurants in the city. Naturally, in expensive diners, you don’t get to eat immediately because you have to wait for your order which takes a bit of time. Anyway, while they were waiting for their food, the husband was busy texting while the wife seemed to be amused with a game on her tablet. The eldest child was on his laptop (perhaps working on a project or just chatting on Facebook), another kid was busy choosing a tune on his iPod, and the youngest was busy talking on her cell phone. When the food came, nobody noticed.
That dinner was for bonding and talking about their lives because they’re too busy to do so during the daytime but they ended up blowing that chance because “gizmos” were intruding in their connection time.
Technology is important, yes, especially in today’s fast paced world but let us not forget that there are other matters that are more substantial in this life. Music will always be there; Google will always be there; interactive games will always be there but the question is – will our husbands and wives be always around? Will our parents be there forever? Will our children be kids till we breathe our last breath? NO to all of these questions. When our parents are dead, no technology can ever contact them again. If our children are married and are leading their own lives or living in another country, we can use the cell phone, FB, Twitter all at once but they will never be able to respond immediately because they’ll be too busy with their adult lives.
Having “real conversations” with our children will strengthen our connection to them. Cuddling our husband/wife at any chance we get, connects to the deepest recesses of our hearts. Laughing with friends in real time will connect to them in ways that even when our hair strands have streaks of grey, we will still remember each other.
Another point: Too many people, especially young people who haven’t known life sans mobile phones, the Internet, or iPods, equate computer and communication technologies with life itself. They spend a countless number of hours listening to music on iPods, watching YouTube, texting/tweeting, and playing games on line. These devises undoubtedly provide easy diversion from the stresses and burdens of daily life. Well, that’s not essentially bad; people need a break from life but when ordinary people are spending too much of their leisure time engrossed and enthralled in technology, perhaps, it is no longer just a respite from life, it has become an escape from life. What is terrifying is that more than escaping from life, computer and communication technology may have become life itself.
Yes, these technological gizmos do and will continue to play a potent and very positive role in people’s lives. However, it should only provide fleeting deviations from life, and significantly, be the perfect tools to enhance lives on this planet, but they should not become a focal point of life.
Technology is important. But it is NOT that important!
Sources & Photo Credits