Communicating is far more convenient for our generation than it was for our parents, thanks to technology. Smartphones allow us to message, videochat and talk to friends any time we want, and to meet a lot of new people.
But technology and universal access to instant communication also causes problems.
One is “phubbing” – this is when you ignore the person you are with and only pay attention to your mobile phone. This is an insult to the other person.
What’s more, if we continue to use smartphones instead of practising face-to-face communication, our interpersonal skills will deteriorate and we won’t be able to deal with people at work or during social activities.
Those who stay glued to their phones while out and about also run the risk of being involved in an accident, say being hit by a car, or falling down an escalator.
There are also health issues. Teenagers who spend a long time on their phones can suffer pains in their shoulders, neck and waist. This kind of muscle damage can cause serious problems later in life. Staring at the screen for a long time can also damage your eyesight.
Technology has changed the way we do things. But we should not neglect our health and interpersonal skills in favour of convenience.
If we use our smartphones correctly, we can avoid many of these problems.
Andy Liu, Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College
From the Editor
Thank you for writing in, Andy. There’s no doubt that the invention of smartphones has made our lives infinitely more convenient. Activities which used to take hours, days, or even weeks can now be completed with a few presses of buttons and good Wi-fi.
But that does not mean we should be slaves to technology. We still need to know how to talk to real people in real life – and if the only way we communicate is using Snapchat and Whatsapp, we will struggle when we’re in people’s physical presence.
Until robots are as common as humans, we need to know how to talk – and listen – to others. And we can’t do that effectively if we have our eyes glued to a screen.
Make time to practise F2F interactions. Instead of messaging a friend to find out how they did on their test, call them – or even wait until the next day, and ask them in person. Instead of just tagging a classmate on Facebook to wish them happy birthday, find them at school, and say it to their face.
It might seem weird at first, but interacting with real people is a useful skill we all need to practise.
Karly, Deputy editor