Digital disconnect

To experience a sense of be­longing, to be seen, valued, and heard is one of the most fun­damental desires of human be­ings. However, modern-day living with smartphones and social me­dia has taken that away from us. Due to the widespread use of dig­ital devices and apps, it seems as though we are losing touch with each other.

Nowadays, wherever we look, people are engrossed in mobile phones. Even when people hang out with friends, they take out mo­bile phones and start using them instead of engaging in conversa­tion. This behavior is commonly referred to as “phubbing,” which essentially involves prioritizing one’s phone over engaging with others. We seem to be powerless against this compulsive need to tap, swipe, and scroll. Consequent­ly, it has spiraled out of control, taking over us completely.

As sad as it may seem, this phe­nomenon is prevalent worldwide. Numerous studies have shown that it creates a barrier to mean­ingful communication, leading to lower relationship satisfaction and individual well-being. Sadly, stud­ies have also concluded that people are becoming lonelier as technolo­gy-based communication exceeds in-person conversations. This is proving especially true among the younger generations.

There is no doubt that we, hu­mans, are social beings. We all need to feel wanted and valued, and that usually starts with talk­ing to each other face-to-face. We like to talk; we like to converse, and nothing can or ever will re­place the bond that is made with regular face-to-face conversation.

Indeed, talking face-to-face with people, like our neighbors, friends, and coworkers, and other peo­ple we encounter during our day, helps us build stronger relation­ships. Face-to-face conversation is different from messaging and tex­ting because it lets us really see and understand each other. When we talk in person, we remem­ber things, make connections, and imagine things in our minds. Plus, we use all our senses, not just words or emojis.

Additionally, when having a con­versation using video, we mainly see another person’s face as a flat image on a screen. However, dur­ing face-to-face conversations in real life, we can observe the oth­er person’s body posture and the gestures they use when speaking, allowing us to interpret them ac­cordingly. All these factors con­tribute to the sensory intensity and depth of the face-to-face con­versations we have in daily life. Ultimately, communicating and connecting with others through face-to-face discussion is valuable because it is not something that can be edited, paused, or replayed.

This does not mean that we should banish these social net­works, but we should know how it can harm our relationships. We can make technology work for us rath­er than being a slave to technology. So, do continue to spend time on social networks, chatting, and ex­pressing yourself as you see fit, but be careful not to neglect those who really mean something to you.

One thing we should focus on is how technology can lead us back to the real world, our lives, and our own friends and lovers. They need us, and without them, we would not be human. With­out them and all the truly magical wonders that love and friendship bring, the art of conversation will truly be lost, forever.

G. AKBAR PALIJO,

Larkana.

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