Losing one’s phone can be a dramatic experience. Selva Ünal had to go through it and shares her perception on the matter.
“The internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow”- Bill Gates
The invention of the mobile phone embedded with the capacity to connect to the rest of the world via the internet is beautiful… you’re connected with your family, friends, coworkers, people you like… and dislike. But you’re also in touch with every single development that goes on across the world every second; you’re connected to disasters, wars, violence, extremism, radicalism… and a high dose of stress.
When my phone decided to die on me (not the first time I must say) I realised how all the noise pollution in my head just all of a sudden evaporated. I had a million things to do… calls to make, messages and emails to send, photos and videos to take but they all just ceased to exist and time slowed down…
Being online never used to be an issue until recently. Much research has been conducted which correlates the high usage of internet with self-esteem issues, depression and stress. There’s even a name for it: ‘pathological Internet use’ i.e. internet addiction. This, I believe, has become more common and will be the ultimate killer of our time. In the 28 EU countries, 10 years ago in 2007, 38 percent of individuals used the internet on a daily basis, which increased significantly to 71 percent in 2016 and is continuing to increase. What happens when we’re all connected? Do we all become pathological internet users?
The stages of your phone dying is an interesting process. I panicked at first, felt like I lost all earthly contact… then panicked a bit more thinking how on earth am I going to contact people and how are they going to contact me, of course via social media and WhatsApp, not taking into account that there’s the usual calling and texting that was popular before social media and WhatsApp. According to the Statistics Portal Statista, as of July 2017, 527,760 photos were shared on Snapchat per minute, 456,000 tweets and 46,740 photos were posted on Instagram every minute. According to Eurostat, in 2016, 52 percent of individuals in the 28 EU countries used the internet to participate in social networks, such as creating user profile, posting messages or other contributions to Facebook, Twitter etc, compared to just 38 percent in 2011. If we are posting so many photos and videos and sharing our views on everything then what are we doing other than living in an ‘imagined reality’? (Yes, I am aware that I sound very cynical, but these are questions that we should keep in mind while using the internet, especially using social media).
After this experience, the most important thing I realised though was that we’ve stopped living in the moment, forgot to embrace the colours and sounds, became disabled in soaking up our surroundings and recording it as a memory. We take photos and videos in order to share with the rest of the world what we’ve been up to but we never really consider and think about what we’re actually ‘up to’. So we end up living a series of ‘empty’ moments where it is one thing after another without any thought going into that certain moment. Like I said at the beginning, the invention of the mobile phone embedded with the capacity to connect to the rest of the world via the internet is beautiful…but we have to make sure that it doesn’t become a beautiful disaster.