I read yet another article today about social media (internet) addiction and how awful and terrible and bad we all are, how neglectful of our children, so disconnected from reality because we are so connected online. And as usual, I read the article and though, huh, well, yes, I probably am a bit addicted to social media. I like being able to check my email whenever I want to and do so regularly throughout the day. I also flick frequently onto Facebook and Twitter, and scroll about on other social networks as the mood (or links) take me. And yes, I do usually have my phone or laptop in front of me when I’m hanging out with my kids or friends, so maybe I am addicted. Oh woe! How horrible must I be…?
Believe it or not, I remember life before Facebook, before Twitter, before smartphones, even before email. Heck, before INTERNET. And funnily enough, from my perspective now, I think I was less engaged in so many ways. I would spend hours with my nose in a book, or watching television. I knew less about everything, though I thought I knew more. My friendship group was smaller, and far less diverse, than it is now.
Do we really think that smartphones and social media make us less engaged? What rubbish. I’ve never been so in touch with what’s going on in the world, and so in touch with so many people from so many places, backgrounds, lifestyles and experiences. Being connected makes me a better person. And I can guarantee you that in a world before the ever-present smartphone in my hand, there was a book in its place and I was no more aware of the world around me than I am now (and yes, the book is still there too, usually on my phone…).
I reckon it’s time to stop feeling guilty about the hours we spend online, hanging out with friends on social media, learning about the world from the different perspectives we never had access to before, ENGAGING as we never did before. We create, we communicate, we collaborate and we connect. It’s brilliant. Embrace it.