There are two sides to every story; the generation of the 90’s babies and the generation of the babies that were born in recent years and our grandchildren and great grandchildren won’t know who to believe in this social media-socialising war.
I come from the generation of 90’s babies – 1998 to be exact. Growing up was filled with outdoor days, horse-riding, and colouring books. However, when my attention turns to my two younger siblings, born in 2005 and 2009, it’s phones and phones and more phones. The conversations stem from TikTok. The majority of the time I sit there and shake my head at the videos I’m subjected to when I visit my parents’ house.
It starts with me asking “How was school today?” and their answer is often a shrug with their eyes attached to their screens.
It’s disheartening because I think that eye contact is very important when having a conversation with someone; not staring at them and unblinking like a Wednesday Addams, but general eye-contact. A conversation about non-social media subjects would be lovely over a cup of tea too.
I’m guilty as charged when it comes to spending a lot of time on my phone. We live in a house in the countryside where there’s little to no signal and our internet data suffers as a result. Being in a place where there is signal especially in the city, we take advantage and get caught up on who’s posting what or what messages didn’t come through in the no-signal-zone.
We’ve all done it; the looking straight at our screens when someone is in our company and trying to converse with us. We assure them we are listening, but in reality, it’s difficult to listen to the important details when your eyes skim through an Instagram feed.
A friend of mine has this rule; whenever we’re in the car together as a group, there’s a ‘no phones allowed’ rule. Replying to a message is accepted, but overuse of our phones is frowned upon because socialising in person proves to be something that needs emphasising.
Personally, that rule is a favourite of mine. I once had a friend, yes, had a friend that constantly gave off to me for my mobile phone usage, but it was perfectly okay for her to be on hers all the time in my company. It drove me mad.
I see this in everyday life; groups of friends together, but none of them talk to each other because they’re all on their phones.
Couples in restaurants who don’t start eating their food straightaway because they need to capture their food at all camera angles and letting people know where they are through location.
People taking pictures of their friends only for them to tell them that it doesn’t look right and to take a better one through a different filter.
It’s all around us and creating a barricade over having genuine social interactions. My boyfriend and I keep our phones away while we’re in a restaurant and we slaughter our food when it’s brought to the table.
Sometimes we’ll take a nice picture of each other to capture a memory for our scrapbook, but when we’re together or in other’s company, we converse without a device in our hand.
It’s a problem – ongoing and growing – but the lesson we need to remember is; we can live without our phones for the times we socialise with other beings.
We genuinely can converse with others about general life subjects like college or work or hobbies as opposed to how many likes our pictures get on Instagram or how our snap scores grow every day, because social media shouldn’t hold a top spot in your life. The online world should not define your life. The online world should not control how you interact with people.
Your life should depend on the connections you make with people and that course you were thinking of taking in your extra time and not our follower count on apps that will surpass our lifetimes.
Social media; we need to minus the media and be social.