Since the explosion of the internet, civilization has grown increasingly connected. Web applications such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have allowed for broader networking and the ability to establish community in places that could otherwise not be found. The world wide web not only allows for faster communication, but endless amounts of resources as well. Because of this access, self-promotion and self-education is more feasible than ever before.
From my personal experience, the internet has helped me gain friends, followers, and knowledge that was previously unattainable. With all that the internet has to offer, one might fail to see the negative side of technological advancement. However, the dangers of the internet are real, and they are out there, and they will come to affect you if you let them.
Perhaps the most concerning element of technology is our dependence on devices and the power they have over us as a result. Screen time is a huge issue in the world of today and the tendency to be plugged in not only affects society on a physical basis, but on a psychological level as well. In simple terms, humanity has gotten to the point where it is so connected online, that interaction with the outside world often becomes difficult or even impossible to pursue. Individuals grow increasingly engrossed in virtual interactions, and as a result society begins to focus on sharing experiences rather than enjoying the moments in themselves.
Not quite sure what I mean? Take this as an example. There was a time early in my college career when I went on a trip with a handful of really media-obsessed individuals. We had the option of traveling to a destination that either held historical significance, or one that was more of a tourist attraction. After a long day of walking around, the group opted for the latter — a relaxing visit to some sandy shores. An hour and a half later, my classmates and I poured out of our minivan and into the Gulf of Mexico. For many, this was their first experience of the like — their first time squishing sand between their toes and enjoying the warm water as it lapped around their ankles.
The surprising part of the experience however was not that this was some of my classmates first rodeo. The surprising part of the experience was their response to the Gulf and how they chose to handle the encounter in light of social media. Instead of riding waves or building sandcastles, I caught many (if not most) fixated on their phones, posing for the perfect picture and snapping plenty of seaside selfies.
While a post or photo might be a great reminder of one’s time away, it’s important to point out that a photograph won’t last forever — at least not in the same way memories do. The trick to making an experience last can be as simple as putting down the tablet or smartphone. Internet consumption truly does take a toll on our daily lives, and if we let it, media can also come to replace the moments that are supposed to define our lives.
So get to a point where you can stop caring about what your life looks like to others and start caring about what it looks like to you. Go ahead and build that sandcastle. Ride those waves. You can even snap a few pictures here and there. Just don’t go so overboard in documenting the moment that you forget to enjoy the experience for what it really is. After all, this is your life; so show that you appreciate it, and make memories that last!