Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Connecting people? So many gadgets are available now.

The craze over the latest i-pads, i-phones and everything paid by dad is a fever. The initial aim of the gadgets was to minimize distance – but is it really doing so?
Gadgets which connects people

I take a look around and see that my younger brother is absorbed in his video game and won’t disturb me for a while. My Brother, who has just come back for holidays, is busy chatting away on his incessant chatting is disturbing me. I tell him to tell mother to lower down the volume of the television that she is watching. My father is doubtless busy reading something on his laptop.
I just realize that we are supposed to be on holiday here. We hardly meet each other but I think I have talked to my brother more over Skype than I have talked to him when he is here. I open up the explorer on my laptop and an ad pops up. Making a mental note to get the add while the arrow moves towards the red button. “Nokia – connecting people.” Connecting people? I can see my younger brother through the crack between the door and the wall. She is definitely “connecting”.
Technology has really blasted Bhutan into the future. It is simply amazing how the things we take for granted has brought such a big change. I could go on and on about the usage of cell phones, i – phones, i – pads, internet, etc. What is the use in that? Everybody, including my brother who is not even a decade old, knows about technology and its uses. But what we don’t realize is the huge impact it is having on our social lives.
I confess the thoughts of living of living without my i-phone and my laptop(with high speed internet) is unimaginable. The loss of either would probably mean submerging me into the Neanderthal times. However, I can’t help but wonder if my world is getting bigger (as Facebook says it is) or if my world is now limited to the four blue walls of my bedrooms. I don’t even know what the weather it is outside. Rain or shine, summer or winter, it is nonexistent expect when I have to go to school. According to Facebook, I have 1124 friends with 10 friend requests pending. But according to the social life I have been leading, I have 0 friends.
Recently, I met the girl from my Facebook friend list. I really liked her in the e-world. She was funny, smart and updated interesting tweets. Her Facebook wall was filed with fascinating news and even though she was not active on Google+, it was still fun to look at her page. Her Facebook photo showed a very pretty girl with smooth fair skin, potty lips and dancing guitar earrings. I could hardly believe that the girl who stood in front of me was the same one. It was difficult to imagine that it was the same person with whom I had chatted late into the night about my problems and shared jokes with.
It is also worth a mention that my classmates with whom I chat so much online have nothing have nothing to say when we actually meet in class. It is as if we have exhausted everything we have to say online. Not to mention, everyone is more flirty and bold if it is through text messages or fb messages but they shutter oh-so-prettily when in front. What a sad, sad world!
My family hardly talks to each other anymore even if we sitting in one room. I am usually playing angry birds on my phone, trying to beat my previous score, my brother is busy on his Nintendo, mom always reads e-books on her phone, dad is too busy watching the news and my brother (supposedly on vacation to be with the family) is usually texting someone. If we have something to say, we hardly lift our eyes off our gadgets, too busy taking care of our e-world.
Maybe it is the fact that we have control over our e-world, much more than we have in our real life. We have the power to cut off friends from the friend list, the power to tell people what is on our mind, tweet about politics because there is anonymity. “We are who we are when we think no one is looking.” How true! I guess it should now be modified to “we are who we are when we are online.”
Internet addiction is a high risk especially for people suffering from anxiety, depression, and other addictions and if you are an unhappy teenager, lack support or introverted. The internet is used as a temporary distraction and as means of escaping from feelings of depressions. However the usage actually   leads to anxiety disorders like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCH) and can further contribute to stress, isolation and loneliness. Instead of helping to get rid of addictions, internet addiction can lead to online gambling, cyber relationships, etc.
Instead of making us social, we are slowly alienating ourselves. We are isolated in our cocoon, in a world we build our ourselves. Facebook, with 845 million users with a whopping $3.7 billion in revenue is expecting to rise up to $5 billion which will make it by far the largest Internet IPO in history. Google+ specifies that you have to include only “your real friends, the ones you feel comfortable sharing private details with.” The phrase is indirectly capitalizing on the fear and anxieties that Facebook has caused interfering with our real friendships, making us all the more lonelier. Instead of conquering isolation as it  was initially designed for, Facebook is spreading isolation faster than a Trojan virus.
A recent study out of Australia titled “Who Uses Facebook?” found a compelling and sometimes confusing relationship between loneliness and social networking. Facebook users had slightly lower levels of “social loneliness” but “significantly higher levels family loneliness”. Facebook encourages contact with people outside our family at expense of family relations. But why go on and on about Facebook? Or Twitter or Google+ for that matter?
It is not just the online sites that are distancing us from our near ones. A simple phone is also responsible for isolation, so are the rampant RPG (Role Play Games) responsible. We are no longer meeting friends as regularly as we used to, no longer talking to our mothers about our problems, no longer asking fathers for advice or sharing relationship problems with our siblings. Technology and connecting people? I have to think about it, so do you.

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