Overuse of technology devalues human interaction

Jake Bass

The irony of this column is that I am typing this behind a screen, you are most likely reading it behind a screen, and the link to this (hopefully) will be shared over Facebook, Twitter and all over the Internet.

Next time you walk around campus, just notice how many people aren’t looking up, aren’t paying attention to anything but a tiny screen in the palm of their hands. I cannot judge because I am a perfect example of this. I try to make a conscious effort to not look at my phone while walking to class, and the fact that I have to do that is, personally speaking, pathetic.

Now, I am not saying that everyone is like this, but chances are if you are someone who is constantly on your phone, you don’t even notice it. You don’t realize that 10-minute walk to class is shortened by the time you spend scrolling through Instagram, updating your Snapchat to see what other people are up to on their stories or even playing a game of Angry Birds.

I’m not going to throw statistics at you, mainly because the numbers don’t add up. Different sources report different numbers of social media users, the time people spend on their phones, etc. But you don’t need numbers to see the social change in American society today.

Human interaction isn’t as valuable as it used to be because you can talk to someone or know what they are up to at every waking moment because of the Internet. I know what more than half of my friends do because they put up or send photos via social media to me, which ruins the novelty of face-to-face communication and makes what I do experience feel more fake.

One place that you can see this firsthand is out on the town or at a concert. People are taking videos constantly to show people the great time they had instead of having that great time. If you go to a concert, you should watch it with your own two eyes, not through the lenses of a camera on your phone. These constant screens also make it difficult for unplugged bar or concert patrons to enjoy their night without the constant feeling of 
being watched.

There are so many positive influences that the Internet and social media bring to our lives, but they are outweighed by the negatives if you let the grid control your life. I challenge anyone who is reading this to delete yourself off of one social media outlet and see how it changes your life. At least put the phone down on the way to class and enjoy the beautiful world around us. Take a look at the deranged Quad squirrels or the various groups promoting themselves and their causes 
around campus.

As Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Jake Bass is a junior majoring in journalism. His column runs biweekly.