The daytime in Big Apple is getting warmer. Perfect time for ice creams and fruit shakes! My niece Rachael was here during her session break. She wanted to spend time with Aaliyah and get some cooking lessons. It was Saturday evening, all four of us, Liz, Rachael, Aaliyah and I were watching old episodes of ‘Friends’; our all-time favorite. This time I noticed something different in Rachael. Every time her phone beeped or the lights flashed, Rachael got impatient. All her attention was on her phone’s notifications.
Clicking pictures for Snapchat stories, doing Boomerangs, posting on Instagram and Facebook and shooting live videos kept her occupied all day. She was distracted. It also affected her assignments. Liz was pretty much upset with this scenario. “Bob, can you please help my daughter out? Poor girl is so engrossed in it,” she said.
I too felt she needed to come out of this. Next day, the cool breeze had made the evening pleasant. I took her out for a walk and broached the topic. “Ever since you’ve been here I have seen you staying busy with social networking sites. What is so interesting there, Rachael?” I asked.
She gave me a surprised look. “It’s important! I don’t want to feel left out and get tagged as one of the boring ones,” she answered. She further explained how crucial it was for her to showcase her style and be on loop with the new trends and hashtags.
So it was the ‘Fear of Missing Out’; ‘FOMO’ which was creating a pressure on her. This fear has occupied a gargantuan space in our minds. Rachael was not the only one, many of my friends too are facing the same issue.
Why are we so addicted to social media? What is so tempting? Is it validation which comes in the form of positive reactions and comments? Or is it that we miss having real time friends? Somewhere we are getting so consumed by it that we end up not reasoning out. We fail to stay and act wise.
“Don’t let the virtual world rule your life, Rachael. Constant whim of the next notification on your phone is taking away your focus from the current environment. Life is about having real memories with people and experience and not staying restricted to this single device,” I expressed. There was silence for some time. Then she uttered, “You’re right Uncle Bob! My life cannot revolve around social media anymore.”
When we returned, she kept her phone aside for minimal use. She spent her time with all of us and prioritized her assignments too. I was glad that she could perceive the reality. A positive change for the good!
Be wise in using every tool. There is no denial that our life has become much easier with the internet explosion. We are blessed with worldwide connectivity, better awareness and real time news across the globe. Keeping aside all these, we should know when and where to draw the line. Don’t let it reign your life. Our wisdom and self-control should always prevail. Not surrendering to any peer pressure, let us enjoy the boon of social media responsibly!