Obsession With Digital Devices Has Robbed Us Of Spontaneity And Human Connection
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Politics and Activism

Obsession With Digital Devices Has Robbed Us Of Spontaneity And Human Connection

Everybody said it was happening, but during my vacation to Chicago, I noticed the obsession with technology more than people enjoying their visits.

Obsession With Digital Devices Has Robbed Us Of Spontaneity And Human Connection

I was waiting for a red-line train on a station in Chicago when an old man randomly started talking to me about the weather. It had suddenly turned cold -- something he thought was worth mentioning to the person closest to him. I told him that I am currently living in Minneapolis and that I have experienced worse.

We got to talking and were sitting on the train when we both looked around and saw everyone else preoccupied with their phones. He said that everywhere he goes, he sees people immersed in their phones with headphones in their ears, socially secluded. I told him that I couldn't agree more, but admitted that I would be doing the same, had I not been talking to him. He said that we have become slaves to machines nowadays. They tell us when to wake up, what to do and how to do everything. When I reached my destination, I had to bid goodbye to Edward. But I couldn't stop thinking about what he had said.

During my 15-minute train journey with Edward, he told me some random facts about Chicago that I had never heard before. When we are on our personal digital devices, in reality, we are only talking to ourselves, as we selectively choose the content that we like and want to consume. We close ourselves off from others' viewpoints. We read about places that only “we” like. We essentially become more isolated in our thought processes by these devices. We stop experiencing the world.

Everyone has to “appear happy” when posting pictures on social media. It seems like everybody is competing with everyone else on how happy they appear on sites like Facebook and Instagram. That’s as pretentious as you can get. Trust me on one thing--you are the only person who will pay the most attention to your posts. Loosen up a bit and be more spontaneous. Don't appear "plastic."

One thing I have never understood is why people take multiple photos of objects in the world when they could just enjoy the view after taking a single picture. During my whole trip, I could see more camera lenses focused on things than people’s eyes. What’s the point of taking pictures? Do you want to create memories? Your brain is already pretty good at doing just that if you only looked through your eyes instead of a camera lens. These high-resolution cameras are overused in my opinion.

I, of course, am no saint. Whatever I write, I have been guilty of it all. But, to slowly understand how you really have “become a slave” to your device and have lost your independence, is to begin to feel liberated.

One of the best experiences that I had on my Chicago trip was getting lost without GPS. I knew where I had to go, but I didn’t want to turn my GPS on and have it tell me exactly where I needed to go. Instead, I walked for about five hours. It was one of the best feelings to just take a walk without noises coming from my phone. I discovered places that I didn’t know existed because I didn’t listen to my stupid handheld device.

Of course, our digital devices are incredibly helpful (eye roll) but don’t you think we overuse them? In fact, you're probably reading this on a digital device right now. Consider striking up a conversation with the person nearest to you. It's as simple as saying "Hello" and putting your phone down for a matter of minutes.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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