The Smartphone Life


When I go for a walk, I invariably run into folks who (a) do not keep to their lane (!); and, (b) are totally immersed in the screen of their smartphone. There are also folks who are lost in music from their iPhones (which is fine), but keep to their lane and are not looking at their smartphones, which is fine.

When I run into these kind of people, I wonder what they do. If going for a walk in a nature reserve or a park means something to an individual, he or she should focus on that activity and not continue to be enslaved by digital devices. If their focus continues to be on their smartphones, then they will lose the advantage of enjoying the natural surroundings while walking or running. The ability to see and imbibe one’s surroundings is one of the key benefits of going for a nature walk as compared to the usual gym treadmill run.

The number of youngsters who remain engrossed with their smartphones or keep talking to someone they know over their phones, surprises me. They are all completely oblivious to their surroundings and are taken in by someone at a distance. They miss out on the glorious sunrise, the lake view which unfolds right in front of them, the wooden walkway which opens up ahead of them, the other folks who run side by side and say “good morning” sometimes. Is it not a pity?

Yes, it is.

I believe that we have all become slaves to our smartphones, and are dependent on the same for news, messages, facebook posting, instagram, chats, email, calendar, facetime, skype, and what not. Since the applications are universal, it does not take much effort from a third party to be able to reach out to an individual walking or jogging in a park. I have often seen people chatting over facetime with their friends or children while I went for a morning walk.

Even older generation is susceptible to this fad, as their children sync up with them better if smartphone and apps on the same are used as a preferred method of communication.

No wonder that social media has become a rage across the teenager and twenty something communities around the world. We are all forced to partake, as no one wishes to be left out.

However, as I alluded to above, it is sometimes better to leave behind the phone and get connected with other people in a fact-to-face fashion. There is more meaning to that kind of interaction, than just a simplistic chat message, or a facebook post. People react more warmly and with lot of candour when there is a direct physical conversation, with eyes locking with each other.

But then the world has changed, right?

It is no longer a simplistic world, it is a much more complex world. There is no time for a casual sit-down coffee chat, which is more healthy and open.

Well, we have to deal with the new world for sure, but let us make an attempt to do what we all did in our young age – go to a park, run around, swing on the swing, laugh, and interact with other kids or people around. Don’t keep looking at your phone all the time. Sometimes, it is better to leave the phone behind at home, which is what my wife does all the time when we go for a joint walk.

It is infinitely better to have a face-to-face conversation with a continuous eye-lock. Think about it, and you will realise how much you miss it these days – whether with your spouse, friend, relative, or office colleague. Everybody seems to be so highly “automated”!!!

Let us go back in time. And see how much more meaningful life was.

Cheers,

Vijay Srinivasan

4th February 2017

 

 

 

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