Wow. It’s hard to believe.
But it’s true. Many people today – of all ages – base their degree of self-esteem on how many likes they receive on social media.
I know people who become depressed if they don’t receive a text within an hour.
So many of us don’t speak to each other anymore.
A recent survey confirmed that teenagers do not use their smart phones to talk. Apparently that’s “old school.” Pictures are sent, messages are posted, and “friends” are invited – but speak to another human being? Archaic!
The problem is serious. Very serious.
Young, impressionable minds have thought about suicide (and some have carried out the act), not because they have been mistreated in real life, but because they’ve been bullied online.
The online world has become the real world, for many. What was once “real” is just the backdrop to where the action now exists – on a screen.
An increasing number of celebrities are getting rid of Twitter. Among the latest is well-known author Salman Rushdie, who says he left the site because it’s promoting a generation of “rude people.”
Keep in mind that this is a man who survived a call by the Iranian leader Ayatolla Khomeini to have him killed.
Rushdie says the anonymity of the web brings out the worst in people, and he was fed up of it.
He proclaimed, “I have not missed it for a nanosecond.”
In some countries, Internet addiction is a huge health problem. There is now even a medical term for it: CIU, which stands for “Compulsive Internet Use.” I might be afflicted with CIU – maybe you are too – but we just don’t know it.
Another related “disease” is “pathological computer use” or PCU. Psychologists now regard excessive “tech time” as a disorder.
Almost everyone I know is distracted. All of the time.
What have we become?
Why do people allow the insanity to continue, and where are the so-called thought-leaders and innovators who can help point us to civility? Or at least, teach us how to manage technology, rather than having it run us? (Why isn’t there an app for that?)
Each day, I look at my phone and check my social media sites – and to be frank – I often feel empty. I told business associates lately, including some clients, that it has now become so bad, that simply having a coffee with someone for 10 minutes to toss around some ideas – is frowned upon. And even people I know well tend to poo poo the idea of a face-to-face. There’s no time for that! “I’m too busy browsing Facebook.”
Of course, there is a lot of good about social media and mobile technology. But we need to ask if the bad has outpaced the good.
I am old enough to remember a time when there were no personal computers, smartphones or the Internet. Back then, business was based on mutual trust formed after a series of in-person meetings. Not on a spam message from a crazy person in a far off land. We human beings haven’t changed. We still need to meet and greet. We still base our instincts on how we are treated by others in the physical world.
How much love are we getting from a gadget?
I could not believe what I was looking at this past week: a bicyclist on a busy street with both hands on her phone, oblivious to oncoming traffic. Can I ask: How low can we make intelligence in the “information age”?
Yup, there are days I want to take that smartphone and throw it as far as I can. There are days I want to make my social media passwords so difficult that even I won’t be able to type them in, thereby cutting me off from my senseless temptations.
My rant is done.