Recall the last time you and your loved ones meandered into your favourite chain pub, and took a soon-to-be-threadbare seat at an overdue family meal. Each relative takes their respective seats: pregnant cousin Leah settling her three year old daughter into the highchair – which had been retrieved by a flustered waiter minutes since – grumpy Grandad Eric ranting to Nana Ethel about the temperature, and one giggly aunty browsing the wine menu, making the famous decision between ‘red or white’.
Everything seems to be going well – niceties are exchanged, sleeping patterns and the weather have been mundanely discussed. Suddenly, a crescendo of uninvited guests begin interrupting.
Grandad’s complaining is completely hijacked by various ‘pings’ and imitations of birdsong.
Why is it that we can no longer function without WiFi connection and access to instantaneous selfies? It’s almost as if we don’t realise that we’re living through our portable screens, ignoring loved ones to scroll through Instagram uploads, or reading our friends put the world to rights on Facebook.
Recently, I noticed a man googling something of little significance, whilst his daughter toddled around on the park. Irreplaceable memories subdued by pixels.
As a teenager, I find my opinion on this situation both hypocritical and frustrating. Although I actively participate, and understand this ‘addiction’, I can’t pinpoint which factor fuels it. Perhaps it’s the strength of distant communication, or unrestricted access to celebrities’ romantic lives and wardrobes.
The fear of being without a mobile device is ‘Nomophobia’. Yes, it is in the dictionary – how bizarre is that? The creation of a noun exclusive to this very issue tells me that it is a very common problem.
Let’s end this technological invasion, and leave our phones in the solitude of our pockets for just ten minutes.