While waiting for a friend, I sit down on a bench in the city centre. Looking around me, I see a lot of people pass by; it’s a busy day. I see a lot of people, but I also see a lot of people staring at their smartphones. They don’t pay attention to the beauty of the city, or to the people around them. They only have eyes for their smartphones. As I watch them, I quickly check my phone. Yep – I’m one of them, too. I get a text from my friend saying that she’ll be five minutes late. Good to know, but did she think I wouldn’t wait for her? Did she think I’d go home after four minutes? We text each other everything these days.
My gaze wanders back to the people around me. Seriously, what’s wrong with us? Why are we so glued to our phones? Can we no longer live without them? Some of us barely remember this, but there was a time when Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp didn’t exist. And we lived our lives, too. Yes, smartphones make some things a lot easier, but they also make some things a bit more complicated.
Another example is getting lost in the city. If you get lost, what do you do? Exactly! You check Google Maps – even if there are plenty of people around who would be willing to help you out. I’m sure they are. But we don’t ask each other for directions anymore. We find it increasingly difficult to ask for help, even though there’s no reason for it.
I think we overestimate the importance of our smartphones in these social media times. We use our phones for everything. We even use them during the night to track our sleeping habits. Is this really necessary? Isn’t it more important to be in touch with each other, to connect with other human beings rather than these quadrangular, plastic objects? These are a lot of questions to answer, but I’m sure of one thing: we should try to live more in the moment instead of living our lives through our phones.
Jo Haas, second-year student of Health Sciences