Friday, December 29, 2017

A love-hate relationship with the mobile phone


By Thow Chun Meng

A reader says people are so dependent on the mobile phone that he wonders how much people are enslaved by it. 

28 December, 2017

During this time of the year, we get many phone text messages from people wishing us a good year ahead and such. The mobile phone has changed the way that people interact tremendously.

Instead of calling each other for a chit-chat or to catch up, we simply drop a short message.

We are so dependent on this piece of gadget that I sometimes wonder how much we are enslaved by it.

It has also become a tool that people use to criticise or admonish one another, if not through text messages, then social media while using mobile applications or surfing the Internet. Relationships may be easily strained, or worse, broken with just a few exchange of words.

Even when we have human company, at meal times with family, colleagues or friends, the phone becomes our substitute companion. We scroll through the small screen instead of making more effort to build connections through face-to-face conversations.

I am guilty of this sometimes, until someone reminds or points it out to me.

More recently, one friend who has become a grandfather told me about his toddler grand-daughter’s “mercenary” side. She leapt into his arms upon seeing him, asking if she may play a game on his mobile phone. Once she learnt that he did not have his phone, she turned away from him to do her own things. The poor grandfather was flabbergasted by how a child of such a tender age could be this way.

Yet no matter how much we are “hurt” by responses from others, we just cannot sever ourselves from our mobile phones, simply because of the great convenience it brings.

[Actually, I thought this was a reasonably presented letter. It presented the writer's perspective, with personal anecdotes, and with no attempt to sermonise or moralise. Merely an observation that this "convenience" is enslaving us.

The simple matter is that any tool can be our master if we allow it. Anything can be addictive and abusive if we allow it. And since he refrained from pontificating, I should too.]

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