Thought #44. Completely hooked?

Life was transformed with the advent of smartphones. People from my age group, whose upbringing was highly influenced by the availability of the first personal computers, regard this invention as a metamorphosis of those cumbersome machines that used to entertain us every now and then. However, the social transformation that has taken place in the last decade is beyond our wildest dreams.

We used to have play dates; we would spend a whole evening at the park playing soccer. The weekend was synonymous with going out and enjoying fresh air. Family gatherings and friends hanging out were a common sight. Married couples watched a film on TV to unwind from a stressed week at work. Now, it is highly improbable that we would stumble upon a group of children without a smartphone, or that we might see a couple just talking in a cafeteria. More and more elderly people use them every day to keep in touch with younger family members.

A smartphone is more than just a combination of a computer and a phone. The constant improvement of high-speed networks and handsets has resulted in sophisticated pieces of technology that monitor and control our daily life. Curiously enough, we barely use our smartphones to make calls. Instead, we prefer to communicate using multimedia chats, where immediacy and convenience set them apart.

The millennial generation has become hooked on technology. They will go to any lengths to get more gigabytes when their data plan is exhausted; even the most wayward of children will behave well for fear of having their smartphone or tablet confiscated. However, smartphones do have a plethora of advantages such as the ability to make us better understand the global problems that afflict our time. Most would agree that information equals informed decisions.

There is a long way to go to comprehend the profound changes that our societies have undergone and, consequently, we do not have any other option but to wait and be hopeful about what the future holds. In my opinion, humankind has evolved throughout millenniums and, by and large, our welfare has always improved so there is no point in dramatising the risks of this kind of addiction. Only time will tell.