The Happy Chemist

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I walked into the staff room yesterday during one of the breaks, and five staff members were on their phones texting, or on Facebook. I made a comment about how social media is stopping us being social, and we all had a laugh.  

However, I have noticed the same thing on buses and trains – no one talks any more. As a society, are we losing the knack of communicating, striking up conversations, and being real with each other?

How has it come about that the content on our phones is more important than our surroundings and other people? One reason is technology – in just a few decades our lives have been transformed by personal computers, access to the internet, social media, and the proliferation of affordable hand-held electronic devices.

Anyone with a mobile phone today can access a staggering amount of information and data available on the internet, and social media has taken over as our main form of communication. It’s so much easier to follow a friend’s Facebook feed than to call them on the phone or physically meet up.

Undoubtedly, this has major pluses; it’s now far simpler to communicate, work, and conduct research than ever before. The amount of time young people spend online has trebled since 2005, and adults are online for around 20 hours each week. Yet, as we become more connected with the rest of the world, we’re getting more and more detached from each other.

This trend is not caused by technology or social media per se. It’s our over-reliance upon them that’s making us antisocial.

Time to log off and get real

The reality is it’s our decision how much time we devote each day to the virtual universe. There’s always the opportunity to logout, unplug, and connect with real people rather than profiles and pixels, to rediscover that human interactions matter far more than “likes” on social media.

Is it too much to ask to try and put our phones away for a few hours each day? Who knows what could happen?

~ Clive

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