Insight Paper by RT

Emojiless: Technology’s Detrimental Impact on the Human Lifestyle

As a whole, society lacks the one on one connections and relationships that once used to exist. The new modern day and age of technology has overwhelmed our younger generations straight to the point that we have nothing else to live for. People are so concerned with who likes this photo, who is commenting on this status, that everything else life has to offer is suddenly invisible to their eyes. In this day, moments are never just appreciated for what they are but always need to be captured and accelerated. Nor does anyone realize the fragility of life anymore because his or her individual relationship with technology is far more important. The sad aspect of all of this is that each and every one of us is guilty, no matter how in denial we are about it.

Take the “emoji” for example. Smiley faces, crying faces, hearts, peace signs, winky faces, balloons, Christmas trees, the list could continue on and on. All of these little emoticons created to sum up just a certain emotion one is feeling, or maybe even not feeling. Here is the point, one could write all of the emojis they wanted to but those hearts or smiley faces still are not equivalent to a real life embracement of a significant other or even a simple kiss on the lips before whispering goodnight to each other. Sure, these little icons make it simpler to get one’s feeling out in a creative representation but where is the feeling? Where is the real emotion? It is just all summed up into that one little picture but nevertheless, looked upon as the real deal.

In this day, a “heart” next to someone’s “hey” could mean so much to a person. But why? How on earth did society get to the point where looking at that heart on a screen can give someone so many butterflies? Sometimes it is those who could never approach another human being in person who are so caught up with what someone else says to them via text or inbox. It is those who look at these emoticons and replicate those for actual feelings from the other person when really, that “heart” could represent nothing at all. Yet no one realizes this. No one sees these pictures as anything else other than what they symbolize. Because to them, who wants to see a heart as anything but love and affection? I guess the physical aspect of human connection has been replaced with everything happening at a distance. A detachment from one another has become of us due to these emoticons. Due to the obsession over each little picture with a failure to realize that the real connections in life have nothing to do with that little “heart”.

If you scroll down your phone on Facebook or Instagram, you may realize that it never stops and could continue forever unless of course one lacks Internet connection, which could really be the end to someone’s whole world. Look around to those next to you and it is almost like a reflection of yourself. Thumbs being used to scroll rapidly down the screen to keep bringing up new information and more pictures that were posted 42 minutes ago or someone else’s status on Facebook that already has 67 likes. It all happens so fast, double tap, double tap, double tap, double tap. Everything moves so quickly and more and more keeps scrolling past your eyes. You don’t like what you see so you keep going, keep scrolling and scrolling and scroll- STOP! Stop. This is the moment that no one ever has. This moment of stillness. Everything has become so fast paced that we are always in constant motion. The need for more and more is always in the back of our minds. But as you were scrolling did you realize that you were actually standing in the middle of Times Square in New York City, one of the most amazing cities in the world that someone would be lucky enough to visit once let alone live here. No, no you didn’t. Actually you would have had no idea that you were standing on 44th street and Broadway because something about liking all those Instagram photos was so much more important to you than this; the moment. The moment that doesn’t last forever. The moment that could be gone in a fraction of a second if that was what you really wanted. The moment of where you are at that given time because that is how moments are measured, not by the given seconds that keep on passing without a stop. Whether one is at the beach with their family on a summer day, at a baseball game with their father, going shopping with their mother, sitting in the park with their sister or walking around their neighborhood with their boyfriend, these are the individual moments that people seem to never acknowledge. All because of that infinite scrolling.

A consequence of our fast paced life styles due to technology has given us a lack of desire or longing for anything in the real world. What is there left for us to want when everything always constantly comes to us? Nothing. All there is that we want more of is what comes from our social media. Our lives have become the lives of the non-desirables. We want nothing. We strive for nothing. We are neither eager for nothing nor determined for anything. The constant text at one’s fingertips is an example of this. When someone wakes up, they check their phones. Before they go to sleep, they are on their phones. The answers are always right there. Let’s use the example of a long distance family. One side of the family lives in Florida while another lives in California. Every year, the family comes together as a whole during Christmas time and that is the only time they get to be all together each year. But the longing for that Christmas vacation doesn’t actually exist anymore. They are in constant communication with each other all year round so when the time comes that they will all physically be together, there is no difference. There is no desire for that vacation anymore because of that persistent association with one another. One may say there is no harm in being continuously connected throughout the year because family should have ways of communicating with each other besides that once a year get together. But one cannot avoid that fact that hope is just a distant feeling and everything is always right there for us.

Looking at the younger generation, more and more teens having been attempting suicide due to “cyber bullying” through email, text message, instant message and social media. This is what has come of hiding behind a computer screen and torturing others just to find amusement in it for us. Some fail to realize the damage they are committing and how permanent their words can become in another human being’s mind. The problem here is rooted just as much in the person being bullied as it is in the bullies themselves. As a younger generation, people have gotten their heads so wrapped around what others say about them through social media. People give in to what others want and then wind up taking their own lives when they should not have been listening to the comments in the first place. As a whole, humans have built up this self conscious towards all that others say about them. They don’t realize the senselessness in killing themselves before it is too late. Suicides due to the harm done on social media are a ridiculous action done by humans.

More specifically let’s use “ask.fm” as an example. This website is a platform for anyone to ask another person questions with the ability of staying “anonymous”. Questions do not just include, “What is your favorite movie?” but most of the time just cruel statements such as, “You’re so ugly and no one even likes you. Why do you think you are so special?” The fact of the matter is, people set themselves up for these instances to happen. The depression and the suicidal thoughts and tendencies are not the problem of those being the bullies. If one makes an “ask.fm” account they are opening up their lives to be stomped on. One should know by now that people are brutal over social media and for one to not believe this is just being naïve. Another aspect of this same website can show how indulged people are in knowing what other people have to say. Some people may be fascinated with being asked questions even if they are mean or not because somehow they are still getting attention from others. People love seeing another question being asked even though almost all of the questions are from anonymous people where you have no idea who they are. Society has gotten to the point where putting themselves into these situations can result in suicides yet people still feel the need to place themselves there. They do it to themselves and if they really wanted to get away from the torture, they could remove the self from it but they choose not to.

Public transportation is an aspect of life that everyone uses especially living in a city like New York. Millions of people take the subways each and everyday, all sorts of strangers crowded together in one single car all of whom one will most likely never encounter again in their lives. For a moment, if one would look around on the train and look down the line of people sitting in their seats, they may realize that almost every single person is holding a phone or iPod in their hands with their heads down. They have their head phones plugged in; they are focused on their individual selves and whatever it is they are doing on their phones. Sometimes one may even forget where they are and are not even aware of their surroundings. What about all the sounds they are missing out on? What about just the simplicity of the train tracks rumbling or “Stand clear of the closer doors please”? What about the innocence of the conversation between a dad and his 6-year-old daughter on their way to school? Or the homeless man coming on at every stop begging for just a dollar or a piece of food, “God Bless.” But all you’ll hear is your music blasting and all you’ll see is your screen. Your little screen that for you is the portal to a whole new world but when really if you just lifted your head up a couple more inches the actual reality of life and the world of your daily train ride could enlighten you ten times more than you would have thought.

It is the moments you lose because of the technology society absorbs themselves into that takes one away from the existence of the self. Bottom line is, when one is so involved with their computer or phone or social media, there is nothing real about it. It is all just a filtered way of living with no real connection to one’s existence. How did we get here? How did society turn down this path from where we used to be? It has happened over time where people are so far removed from the real world that they have forgotten what that ever meant before. To go back and to rekindle relationships and real connections, one needs to realize that if they simply just took out their head phones or deleted their ask.fm or kept their phone in their pockets during a movie to not be in constant communication, they could face the beauty of what life really has to offer. What has always existed but only if one comes in contact with it.

The need to document everything with a picture and a caption or a status is pathetic. There is never just a time where someone can put down their phones and relax. We have grown to lack real connections with other people and use various devices of technology to be a filter for our conversations and relationships. It is all so constant and never leaves us with anything else to look for or hope for. The amount of dependence there is on our phones, computers, and TV’s is ridiculous. Technology has taken away the desire in life in that nothing is ever there for you to get yourself but it is all their just at a click of a button. Or even just an emoji at your fingertips.

Insight Paper by R.T.

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