Is the Brave New World of cyber connectivity a good thing, or a bad thing?

This debate has been raging for a number of years now, and it seems to be getting even more heated as we enter a new phase of social communication via electronic hand held devices, rather than by our eyes, mouths and faces.

Recently I was talking to a young lady, just 22, who confessed that her mother- a strong adopter of Smart phone technology- NEVER rings her to ask how she is doing. Istead, she says, most of their talking is done…via text.

The young daughter showed signs of obvious distress as she was relating this information to me.

The girl herself, half Thai, half Swedish, fully fluent in 3 languages, does NOT like using social media as a means of making connections.

That her mother no longer calls upsets her.

She wants to have conversations- of the speaking kind- with people but she feels shut out.

Her body language throughout our conversation was telling. When she described what it was like to go out with her friends, she subconsciously acted out their mannerisms of not meeting her eyes, and scrolling on the screens of their phones as they talked. She showed me what the beginning of every meal looked like. Her with her arms folded, waiting to start, them taking pictures of their food and uploading immediately onto social media.

“After that is done” she said” we can begin to talk”.

It jolted me into a kind of reality. Lately I have been taking pictures of food.

I don’t always upload them, but I remember thinking what a strange habit this was. Now, for me, it has become a learned behaviour, and one I have started doing unconsciously.

I privately scolded myself and vowed to try and do better, then made sure I gave this girl my full attention. She obviously needed to talk, and to be listened to.

However, social scientists do not agree on whether or not we are, paradoxically, less connected than we were.

On the face of it ( so to speak) we now have more connections and social interactions than ever before.

Whereas once a Sunday phone call to people overseas was a well thought out and carefully timed event, now Skype and face time, or Whats app or Line or a million other apps will allow you to talk- FOR FREE- anytime, anywhere around the World. And, what’s more, via video.

That was once pretty new age and wizz bang. It was once a cool idea on Star Trek.

Now, if we can’t get ahold of someone within seconds, and see their face, we wonder WHY we are waiting.

“How did you rate your ( completely free and frankly rather remarkable video conversation that took your image from one part of the planet and send it via sattelite and space to another part of the World) Skype experience” Utter rubbish. I had to wait for 40 seconds to connect and the line fell out twice. What, are we living in the 18th century all of a sudden?



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