Life Behind A 5-Inch Screen


We are living behind a 5-inch screen.

The world of technology has changed the way we interact. In many ways, we're all connected, yet remain disconnected from each other. We can now see our family and friends living halfway around the world in the palm of our hands, and yet disregard those who are sitting just opposite us. We've all become closer, drawn together by the power of technology, but also in many ways drifted further away from each other.

There's no interaction on the dinner table at all. Kids are too busy flinging birds into pigs, on the devices that their parents use to keep them quiet. Parents are engrossed in flicking through their Facebook news feeds, or browsing the latest news, or even shopping through Groupon sites instead of holding a conversation with their children, or with each other. My own family tries not to do this, but eventually none of us can resist the temptation to whip out the phone and start browsing Twitter or Facebook or Instagram. Why? Because everything is now in the palm of our hands, all on the 5 inch screen in front of us.

Yum cha sessions, as I can readily attest to, are peppered with long pauses of silence, with everyone busy tapping on their phones and occassionally letting out a small chuckle at that hilarious cat meme a friend shared on their Facebook wall. Then it's a long period of silence again, interspersed with a brief slurp of the teh o ais. The insane thing is that this practice has become so normal that we ourselves don't even notice it. At the briefest of lulls in the conversation, our hands will immediately grasp at the phone like a long lost lover. We do talk, but more and more minutes are spent staring at that 5 inch screen, liking that cat who can do somersaults.

No one takes in life anymore unless it comes through their 5 inch-screen. I've been to concerts where people pay hundreds of dollars to rock out with their idols behind their phone screens. You've paid an exorbitant amount to see, for example, G-Dragon, barely 2 steps in front of you and still you choose to view him through a 5 inch phone screen. Be in the moment, enjoy the sights and sounds right then and there, instead of making sure your hand is steady to capture everything you can probably watch on Youtube.

Explained in this eloquent comic by Chee Ching.

Everything that's available to do isn't a good idea. I'm not against anyone joining social media; heck, you'd be an outcast of you didn't at least have a Facebook account. But think about it: Is there a need to join 20 different social media sites to share the same exact thing? I'm not joking. There are people (hi mom!) who immediately sign up for a social media site that they didn't know existed, just because "Auntie So and So invited me". And when you have 50 social media sites to update, there will be a constant need for you to keep tapping and tapping on the phone, non-stop. It's a vicious cycle of ignorance.

For everything I've said up till now, I've also been guilty of doing. Yes, I take pictures of my food before I eat, sometimes even forcing others to wait while I find the perfect angle to take a delicious looking shot. Yes, I do check my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter while with friends and family because I just cannot stand not knowing what's going on with OTHER people not in front of me. Yes, I have plenty of social media accounts, from which I constantly spam my friends with.

Yes, I'm living my life behind a 5 inch screen, so connected yet so distant.


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