During last Saturday’s trip from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur, there were two passengers beside me, a mother with her daughter. They speak fluent Aussie English even though it’s obvious that they are Chinese. Well, of course, that is not the main point that I’m going to bring up in this blog.
Throughout the entire trip, the daughter that sat beside me was busy with various electronic gadgets. At first, she was reading her book using Kindle and then, playing games using iPad until the last 10 to 15 minutes before we landed in KL. The mother was busy reading magazines and sharing the stories and articles to her daughter but her daughter couldn’t care less about it. So, the mother kept talking most of the time and the daughter just busy playing games with her iPad. There was one time when the daughter has to use the earphone but the mom still keeps talking about what she read and also the in-flight meals. When there is no choice to get attention from her daughter or probably she was asking a question, she pulled off the earphone from her daughter but her daughter just put it back even though she felt annoyed with her mom’s action.
As one of the passengers who sat beside them, this is not something that I feel comfortable with it. As a person working in IT field, the first question that comes to my mind is whether the technology is bringing more benefits or harms to us. As for my personal point of view, I feel sad and pity for the mother especially when this situation comes to my mind where the mother spent her own money and bought all these electronic gadgets just because of her love to her kids but what she gets in return is ignorance or a cold shoulder treatment from her daughter. At the same time, I really feel worry about my future kids and the next generation when kids lacking of real communications with their parents.
This reminds me of a Chinese movie which talks about a family that needs to move from a big house to a government-leased low cost flat due to financial difficulties and bankruptcy. The father was a bit worried that his wife is not able to adapt her life to live with his dad in a small flat since she came from a rich family but the wife said “I feel my current life is happier compared to last time. Last time, we seldom sit together and have our family dinner and we just sending text messages to communicate with each other but now, we talk more often compared to last time”.
Sometimes, I’m wondering whether parents nowadays ever ask themselves when was the last time their kids talking to them and vice versa? As the technology trend keeps increasing, it’s not only the kids get addicted with the electronic gadgets but even the parents also getting more addictive with social networking and tech gadgets. Parents often say that they don’t have enough time but don’t be surprised when they have time to appear on social networking sites for several hours, commenting their friends’ posts and sharing their personal life including stories and photos about their kids. Sometimes, I just feel does family is that simple: parents and kids or parents, kids and Facebook with the whole world? I’m not saying that everyone has to fully get rid of social network but at least they must find a balanced life between family and social network. I just feel it’s so odd when you don’t have time to talk to your family members which is so near to you, probably just a few centimetres or inches or maybe in the next room whereas you have time to talk to outsiders or friends that are living how many thousand miles away from you.
Based from my own experience, social networking can cause someone spending a lot of time everyday by just facing the electronic gadgets and ignoring the people and environment around you. Before I came to Sydney, I didn’t have a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin or any other common social networking accounts. I only have email and messenger accounts. During my life in Sydney, I created a Twitter, Linkedin and recently a Pinterest account. I’m not sure whether it’s because I came back to KL just a few days and I can’t make an early assurance, my access to social networking sites and frequency of tweeting or sharing news are lesser for more than 70% compared to my life when I was in Sydney. I guess I’m going back to the life before I went to Sydney which I prefer more than the social networking life and in fact, I have more free time to get myself busy with higher priority tasks but I don’t have the time to spend on social networking sites now. I did a comparison between my life with social network and lesser or without social network. There was one time I spent several hours everyday playing games on social networking sites and reading other people’s updates which in real life, we don’t know each other at all. Then, I decided to get rid of this kind of life when I was too busy with my assignments and on the first day, I suddenly feel that I have a lot of free time to do my own work when I totally ignored social networking sites.
It’s the same principle when I’m in KL now and before I went to Sydney two years ago. I spend most of my time in more higher priority tasks such as talking to my family and reading books. When I think back those days with social networking life, I can’t believe I was that crazy and wasting my valuable time in games and reading other people’s updates which is none of my business.
I guess I can finish reading more books just like last time before I went to Sydney. Some people have the mindset that once you are into social network, it will be difficult for you to get rid of them or lessen your usage of social networking sites. Well, I’m not sure about others but as for me, I’m pretty confident that my self discipline is quite high. Besides, I always don’t believe there isn’t anything you can’t live without in this world and how about your life before all these things exist?
Once in a while, there is one question comes to my mind. Does different cultures can affect someone’s behaviour on social networking sites? As we have friends in KL and other countries, I observed the difference between local users and users from other countries. It does sound offending but unfortunately, it’s a fact if I say that local users can reduce the lifespan of your social networking life and there is one day, you just want to quit any social network accounts. Local users getting more to be a social network slave and started to forget the real meaning of social network whereas users from other countries are not that addictive and they will only share some photos from special events once in a while. Local users like to share posts related to politics, food, and even private photos. I like travel photos and food photos still acceptable if it’s something special. Local users like to share their daily meals photos and sometimes, daily life photos. The worst thing is the private photos. What I’ve seen so far about private photos are such as nostrils, toe nails, finger nails and hips. I really don’t get it why they want to share those photos to the whole world. There was one time, I even read a post or saw a photo about her first grey hair in her life. Oh come on. Those are just a few disgusting posts which I remember and there are more on social networking sites. My brother recently mentioned one thing, “I really don’t understand what kind of mindset is that. They want to share their personal stuff to the whole world but at the same time, they want to have privacy settings”. I couldn’t agree more with it. Since you have the courage to share the photo of your nostril and any of your body parts but why at the same time, you want to have privacy settings?
From last time until now and in the future, there is one thing that I never will have for myself, which is, Facebook account. I used to try using it with someone’s account but the features are not strong enough to capture my interest to get one for myself. If Facebook is like a hobby for some people, I would say it’s an extremely high maintenance hobby.