I’m going to show you a video. A video that will make you want to put down your phone, dance on the swiss alps, reconnect with loved ones and experience what life is REALLY about. A video that tells you social media is not the answer and that smartphones are the root of all evil in the world. A video like this. Or this. Or a story like this. Or this:
But you know what all these videos have in common? They’re kind of bullshit.
And it’s high time we all said that out loud.
The smartphone-shaming contingent of the internet, sharing their anti-Facebook diatribes on Facebook, would have you believe that real-time human interaction doesn’t exist anymore. That they haven’t talked to one of their friends face-to-face in over three years. That Siri is everyone’s closest friend.
None of this is true.
Here are 5 reasons we need to stop smartphone, social media and technology shaming:
1. We are more connected than ever before – not less connected.
I know that people like to claim otherwise. I guarantee that every article about smartphone shaming, ever, has featured the line: “We are more connected than ever before, but some of us still feel less connected”. Heck, I’ve written words to that effect.
But you know what? Now on Mother’s Day, children scattered all over the globe can simultaneously Skype their mum for a virtual family reunion. People can more easily maintain interstate friendships, and long-distance romance has got a whole lot easier. Mums can still connect with their social groups, even if they have to be at home most nights.
When people use social media and smartphones the right way, it’s actually kind of beautiful.
2. Selfies are not destroying our social order.
Look, underage teens sexting = probably a little dangerous. But people taking a selfie because they think their hair looks particularly nice that day? Or taking a photo of a beautiful sunrise on their morning run? Or taking group shots replete with semi-duck face while at a bar for a birthday party? It’s not hurting anybody.
One of my favourite activities as a kid, was to go through my parents’ old photo albums and look at what their life was like. One of my favourite activities now is to scroll through Facebook albums of photos my friends have taken while travelling overseas, in locations I may never get to visit or experience for myself. I like being able to see the world through someone else’s eyes for a moment, or be kept up-to-date on what they’re reading/knitting/eating on Instagram. Speaking of…
3. People taking photos of their food is not actually destroying your day.
It’s just not.
4. Knowledge is now (pretty much) free.
My mother had to write her honour’s thesis on a typewriter, and was limited to the books at her university library. During my tertiary education, I’ve had the world’s knowledge at my fingertips. That’s truly amazing.