I know what you’re thinking: shocker. This barely ever happens. Well actually this particular incident was a little different; the attacker wielded his gun on a packed train in San Francisco, spent time carefully choosing his victim, aimed and then fired. What was more obscure was that not a single commuter noticed until the shot was fired.
Why? They were playing all playing Candy Crush Saga of course! CCTV shows that every commuter on the carriage was distracted by some form of technology, be it an ipad, Kindle, a smartphone or just their mobile.
It got me thinking about how obsessed the world is becoming with technology. We seem to have gotten so lost in technology that we are no longer aware of anything that is going on around us. Whilst this is a freak example of a fatal incident which could have potentially been prevented if someone had paused their game of Fruit Ninja and taken a look at the real world, it’s still something to consider. Are we becoming addicted to technology and is this a bad thing?
Without wanting to sound like the sort of woman who may represent many mothers and (dare I say) grandmothers telling people to “take your headphones out and just listen for a second!” I do think there is something to be said for this sort of attitude. I’m willing to bet that you’ve at least once in your life, texted someone in the same house (or even room!) as yourself rather than call over to them. It’s convenient right? But stop and consider for a moment the sheer amount of human contact we miss out on just from simply texting friends rather than going to have a chat with them.
Dark memories of my fourteen year old self loom at the back of my mind. Days spent on MSN sending sparkly emoticons and discussing how great it’d be to go meet up in the park and hang out on swings (yes, I was extremely cool, thanks)only to realise that it was now 6pm, I was still in my pyjamas, my favourite skinny jeans and striped Punkyfish top still nowhere to be found and my mother insisting that a 6:30pm curfew was perfectly reasonable. Ok, perhaps that was an extreme, and perhaps embarrassing example of how useless and anti-social I used to be as a result of a technology trend.
I’m not saying that we should all go get National Trust memberships, ditch our iPods and stamp on our PSPs and become best buddies with the guy opposite us on the train – as a Londoner, I cannot think of anything more alien, trust me. When there are those inevitable awkward silences during predrinks, you’ll probably still check your phones to text each other “Omg this is so awkward”, and so will I.
Just make sure you don’t miss out on the bigger things, whether that’s having a great get-together with someone or recognising a serious situation.
Know when to stop a game to start a conversation, when to take an earphone out to listen and when to close your laptop lid and open up. Users of technology…know your limits!