Community: Real Life

Unplugged and proud


Daisy Phillipson

Daisy is a studying for an MA in journalism. She's also a former TheSite.org work experience.

Daisy says it's time to get off our gadget addiction and have a proper conversatio for once.

People are going iGadget crazy. Everywhere you look someone is tapping away on their phone or laptop. But I can't help but feel nostalgia for a time when people weren't walking around with their eyes transfixed to a little screen.

Nowadays I can't go to a house party, watch a film or even visit family without someone fumbling with their handset. And the introduction of the iPad has just increased the amount of computer zombies. I get criticised for not getting involved in this tech-overload -  friends are often shocked that I don't even have a Facebook account. These technologies are supposed to improve sociability, but instead they're ruining it.

"We're going to become a disposable society, filled with useless fragments of information"

Two of my old housemates had iPhones. We would all congregate in the living room after uni but they might as well have not been there. All I could hear each night wasn't their stimulating conversation but the tap-tap-tapping on their screens. Facebooking, tweeting, blogging - they'd rather do anything than talk to the people around them. It used to drive me mad. Have people got so bored with real life that they feel the need to enter a made-up world to have fun? A conversation via email is hardly the same as face-to-face. What would you prefer to do on a Friday night? Go out clubbing with your mates or stay in and have an emotionless conversation with your hundreds of cyber "friends"? I know which one I would prefer. iPads and iPhones are just making this sort of un- interaction the social norm.

I realise it is proof of our society stepping into the future and even I can't deny some apps are a bit of fun. But the extent to which quick-fix technology is being used is wrong and it's beginning to dumb us down. People are being constantly spoon-fed different information, but it's mostly entertainment-focused and the effects of this aren't being studied in any detail. I hardly think the great philosophers of the time would've gone into such deep thought if they had an iPhone. They would've probably created a one sentence tweet about their latest revelation then got distracted by a new movie release. There is no way being fed these little snippets of information can be compared with reading a book or a newspaper. I don't care if you tell me to go back Stone Ages just because I favour books over iGadgets. The idea we're going to become a disposable society, filled with useless fragments of information, annoys me.

I was shocked recently to find even my seven-year-old cousin had an iPhone. Whatever happened to playing in the park with your friends? I was with him and his friends recently and I tried to get them to play with my old cardboard wendy house. When I was that age it was one of my favourite things to do.  My brother and I would play games in it for hours: doctors, teachers, army soldiers. But these kids just looked at me in disgust and went to play with their gadgets.  It was actually me who was filled with disgust. Their lack of imagination was a shock and I see it more and more. These gadgets are so advanced that young people don't need their own imagination - all the information and visuals are up front. No longer will children spend hours in the park with a few trees to keep them entertained - they'll want to go home and play with their new tree-climbing app instead. With the new gadgets coming out almost daily, they're going to be hard to avoid. I'm not asking you to ditch your new fangled contraptions. I just suggest there should be a balance. The real world is an exciting place and too valuable to spend your life in a virtual one.

Updated: 12/08/2011


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