“Mum, do you remember where you left that remote?”
“Wasn’t it on the desk? Check the drawers.”
This is a typical conversation between a child and mother.
Now, imagine if this conversation is held over text messaging, under the same roof.
Saddening, isn’t it?
Well, not everyone is doing it, but it’s undeniable that, this type of situation is happening.
Back in the day, the simplest communication people can have is speaking face-to-face. Today, we are granted with all sorts of modern technology especially the Internet which has changed our lives tremendously. Based on Internetworldstats (n.d.), “the number of the Internet subscribers in Malaysia is expected to reach the 25 million mark in the next three years according to The Economic Report 2013/2014 that was released last year. This represents approximately a 23% increase over the 18 million estimated subscribers for year 2012.” As the Internet becomes more widely available, we use it for just about everything: working or doing assignments, checking emails, communicating with friends on social apps, or even making reservation at a restaurant at 7pm. The Internet turns into an essential in our daily lives.
Let me depict another scenario of my relatives whom I’ve been living with for two years. During day, all of us would be out for either work or college. When we arrive home, it is already 9pm or so. We would just return to our rooms respectively with minimal communication. As expected, we are back to using our own smartphones or computers. The only time the family has a bonding with each other is over dinner during weekends. Referring to The Huffington Post (2014), “a 2014 Nielsen survey found that the average American spends 11 hours on social media, and more than half of that time is spent looking at a smartphone or tablet.”
The Internet affects our lives so much, even children nowadays are more tech-savvy than regular adults, or maybe, just me. Two weeks ago, when I paid a visit to my cousin, I saw her six-year-old daughter playing Mario games with an odd-looking remote controller. I, being a technology idiot, have little to no knowledge about gaming. The only game console I know of probably is the PlayStation. Thus, I didn’t know what it was until her mother told me it was Wii. When I was six, I either played with cooking toy games or cycled around the house compound.
Besides, due to the increasing cost of living, parents have to work for extra income to earn a decent living for their family. Some parents, who are too lethargic and wish not to be disturbed, rather indulge their children with the modern gadgets as distraction. As quoted by Doughty (2011), “children are bombarded with computer games” since parents are too busy to spend time with their children. “Over 60 per cent of parents said that when they do get together, it’s normally spent in silence in front of the TV, at the cinema, playing computer games or glued to a mobile or tablet.” (Maughan, 2015)
Here comes the issue: Are humans getting more isolated due to technology?
No doubt with globalization life is much easier with technology, but it has also become more complicated. The apparent downside of technology is its pervasiveness and the impact it leaves to our daily lives. As stated by Lickerman (2010), “The problem, however, comes when we find ourselves subtly substituting electronic relationships for physical ones or mistaking our electronic relationships for physical ones. We may feel we’re connecting effectively with others via the Internet, but too much electronic-relating paradoxically engenders a sense of social isolation.” Isn’t it ironic how the world is rapidly advancing yet humans are slowly losing interaction with one another?
Doughty, S 2011, All Children Want Is A Stable Family And Things To Do’: Damning Report Claims Parents Shower Offspring With Gifts To Make Up For Lack Of Quality Care, mail online, accessed 01/09/2015, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2037111/Parents-spoil-children-designer-labels-make-lack-quality-care.html
Internetworldstats n.d., Malaysia Internet Usage Stats and Marketing Report, accessed 01/09/2015, http://www.internetworldstats.com/asia/my.htm
Lickerman, A 2010, ‘The Effect of Technology on Relationships’, weblog post, Psychology Today, accessed 01/09/2015, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201006/the-effect-technology-relationships
Maughan, R 2015, ‘Parents’ spend just 34 minutes a day with their children’- because stressful life is too distracting ‘, weblog post, Mirror, accessed 01/09/2015, http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/parents-spend-just-34-minutes-5518081
The Huffington Post 2014, This Is How Technology Is Affecting Your Relationship, accessed 01/09/2015, www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/17/technology-changing-relationships_n_5884042.html