Op-ed: Screening in the New Year

Disconnected. When you think of our society as a whole, is this the word that comes to mind?  Nowadays, almost everything we want can be accessed by the swipe of a tablet screen, yet we find ourselves disconnected.

Food, online shopping sites, friendships and anything else you can’t find in a store is just a click away. But when was the last time you sat down with a person face to face and put the cell phone down?

As we move forward in a world of technology, our interactions with strangers and possibly colleagues change drastically. A physical encounter with a friend no longer engages face to face, but face to phone.

Electronics constantly hold the spotlight in our lives and shadow other events without difficulty. They have even been known to make people twitch with anxiety if they’ve developed a screen addiction.

Hence,  with the power of a phone, we pull away from the real world; our social skills diminish even if we don’t realize it right away.  According to HHS senior Eddie Egner, our society does need a break from technology. “Yes, [our] society has grown way too attached to our devices. We need to put the phones down and have some human interaction,” Eddie added.

However, the attention we give to our devices isn’t the only factor that makes our society feel disjointed; it’s the interactions we project onto others.

Have you also noticed that an ordinary conversation can sometimes become a touchy subject? We tread through each word as carefully as we can to avoid setting off the other person; unfortunately, miscommunication is slowly becoming the norm in our society due to our devices. When we are more familiar with our hand-held devices than actual people, it makes real-life interactions difficult for both parties.

With improving gadgets comes also the infinite options of viewing other people’s interests. In a  plethora of platforms, one can see an opinion on anything and everything– good and bad.

Diverse opinions are completely normal, but when a digital screen comes into play, some users can come off as harsh when they only meant to be passionate about what they like/dislike. While one source says that it depends on the person, there is still a large percentage of people who are deemed “oversensitive.”

It may not be as drastic as holding disdain for someone who likes the color green instead of blue, but the fear of being judged for thinking differently is what causes people to shrink into themselves.

HHS graduate Matthew Chulsky agrees that nowadays people, especially the younger generations, are in fact overly emotional. “People are too sensitive, words are just words, insults are just insults…They go away,” he said. One potential cause for this would be growing up in an environment where children learned to be coddled over constantly.

The older generations model the newer ones and are tasked with the responsibility of providing a proper example on how to, and how not to, act. For the past few years, we all seem to be falling down the metaphorical rabbit hole.

Another possible foundation for our fleeting society would be victimism. It’s no secret that news on the internet spreads faster than spoken words; the problem is that with just text, no one can truly identify if a person is serious about their situations.

On the other side of the spectrum, people can use this to their advantage and act like a victim on more than one occasion. Sometimes overexposure to ‘victim-related’ posts turns people away from any confessions of those who actually need help.

Many people think that we, as a whole community and society, will continue to spiral down into more petty disputes and fights, although if we all try and put in our best efforts; we can change it. After all, it’s only the beginning of 2019.

Image Credit: Marissa Fattorusso, Tommy Gallagher, and Rabeet Sheikh

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