The world we live in today is very different from the one I remember as a child, and that is for a number of reasons. I am, although I hate the connotations that have been linked to the term, a millennial; 90s born, 90s-00s child, and well on my way to adulthood when the 2010s came around. In my lifetime I saw cassette tapes replaced with CDs, CDs replaced with mp3s and now we just stream everything. If you showed my younger cousins a VHS tape or a floppy disc they probably couldn’t tell you what either of them were, yet I still remember the pain of waiting for my Disney films to rewind to the start before I could watch them, and my dad’s office being full of these weird little plastic and metal squares.
I remember my parent’s mobile phones going from big to small to tiny – all Nokias because that was basically the only phone company in those days. I remember my mum getting her first colour screen mobile, and then the first camera phone which took the grainiest photos you could imagine but it was still just the coolest thing. I remember when mobile data became a thing, and my sister accidentally racked up a big bill because we had no idea that this super cool new internet function cost the earth to run, even though it took 4 hours to load a page. Fast forward to today, and I’ve seen every cool new development in technology, and I just know that even the tech we use today will be old news before the next few decades are out.
Our phones have gone from being our life-lines to just being our lives. Its not just keeping important numbers saved, its how we do pretty much everything these days shopping to banking, but ultimately it does tend to always come back to communication, which is strange because its considered so ‘anti-social’ to be on your phone nowadays.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely not for people being glued to their phones 24/7, or kids preferring to play on their parents phones instead of going outside and playing, but there’s a real element of hypocrisy when people make those comments like ‘why don’t you get off your phone and have an actual conversation?’
Here’s the thing, the majority of the time that I am on my phone, I am probably talking to someone, or a group of people, or my Twitter followers, or someone on Instagram. The fact is, socialising is so much more than just having a conversation with someone these days. I mean, if someone was in the middle of a phone call, would you tell them to get off the phone and ‘be more sociable’? No, you wouldn’t, because talking to someone on the phone is being sociable and having a conversation, yet if I’m 20 mins into an hour long Twitter chat and haven’t put my phone down the entire time, its eye rolls and tutting.
What bothers me especially, and this is probably gonna sound super tragic, is that I don’t actually have any friends in my hometown. To be honest, this doesn’t bother me as much as it probably should because I have so many friends that I talk to all the time either through Whatsapp or Twitter or Instagram, and I’m totally blessed to have incredible online friends. I am closer to some of the people that I’ve only ever met once or twice than the people I grew up with and don’t talk to anymore, and my three closest friends are scattered across the country and I’m lucky if I see them every few months.
And all these amazing friends that I do have that are a mere text or tweet away? I met them online. I met them through blogging or through Disney trips or through following each other on Instagram. I would not have met these wonderful people without being online, and the only way I can keep up with them when they are not only all over the country but all over the world, is by, you guessed it, being on my phone a lot.
So the next time you see someone glued to their phone screen, maybe instead of jumping to judgement you should think about what they might actually be doing, who they might actually be speaking to. Just because there are words coming out of their mouths, doesn’t mean conversation isn’t flowing through their fingertips.