ARE YOU AWARE OF THIS DEADLY DISEASE THAT IS KILLING US SOFTLY?

Just picture this......

The dinner table is beautifully set with very delicious and mouth watering food. The whole family seated around the table ready to enjoy the meal and bond as family. 

However, virtually everyone's phone is sitting next to their plates, every now and then buzzing with new e-mails and text messages. This continues throughout the meal and occasionally some of you taking and placing calls and even tweeting or updating your Facebook /WhatsApp walls on what you are eating. 

No attention at all given to the meal nor the conversation you could have had as a family. That dinner just ends up becoming an exercise of what is going on in another world, a world that is occurring outside of the immediate dinning room.  

In short, what that really means is that all of you weren't present in this very special family time. You weren't present and can never be aware of your impact.

I'm sure that it never occurs to you that this is a way of being rude, making a bad impression of yourselves and being disrespectful.

That's not the only example.....
Have you been in a class where tutors are giving lectures but the students are there busy updating their Facebook status, texting friends and Tweeting? Ama, you are having a very serious conversation with your spouse/lover, a colleague or a business partner and all over sudden they excuse themselves to reply to text message, WhatApp or Facebook status? Eventually, the online chat ends up consuming the limited time you had with them leaving you with very little time to rush through what you had to discuss or worse still, postpone the meeting for another day.

Or have you ever been in a matatu where everyone was so engrossed to their phones that noone really noticed the one sitting next to them or whatever was going around them in the entire journey? All you saw were people smiling to themselves and at times bursting into laughter like zombies. 

In any case an accident or a carjacking happened, no one in that matatu would be in a position to explain what really transpired.

People nowadays feel more comfortable with their online friends than their real ones. They can’t really stop themselves from playing games, gambling or compulsively checking their  smartphone, tablet and so on —even when it has negative consequences in their lives.

The last few years of the internet have exploded into quite an innovative way of mass socialization amongst users with sites like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Tumblr, LinkedIn, dating sites like Zoosk or eHarmony; you name it. These social networking sites have become minute by minute communication necessities for millions of people. Many people are now addicted to Social Media, a fact that is now turned us into narcissists and egomaniacs.

We have become so engrossed in technology and particularly our Smartphones, that we have become quite oblivious to our surroundings. We have now become more socially connected with the rest of the world and becoming more disconnected from each other. We have absolutely lost sight of the little things around us. We now text as we walk or drive, chat even in the middle of church sermon or prayer and worse still, take photos for posting online in some rather dangerous and life threatening situations.

We have become so hypnotised and fallen into a techno trance to a point of common sense, manners and awareness being pushed aside. We are doing things without considering their repercussions and behaving in ways that disregard the world around us. We are now married to our computers and cellphones.

A recent survey showed that 27% of us check our social networks the first thing when we wake up. 51% of us continue to log in periodically throughout the day while 56% of us believe that not regularly checking our sites means we will miss out on important updates, news content or events from the pages we follow.

Another survey showed that 39% of us spend more time socialising online than we do face-to-face, with 20% of us prefer texting or communicating online than face-to-face. 33% of us are likely to speak to someone new online rather than in person. Two in every five people spend more time socialising online than they do face-to-face.

Persistent developments in technology, electronics and social networking is slowly alienating the vast majority of our people socially and turning them inward and away from one-on-one interaction. 

I know you will argue that the net provides a constant, ever-changing source of information, entertainment and also allow for both public and anonymous communication about any topic. In spite of all the positives on the Internet, it is good to note that it also cheats us out of more complete life experiences. True social skills are taught and well understood primarily through interacting with our peers face-to-face.

Spending a lot of time online is surely a problem if it absorbs too much of your time, causing you to neglect your relationships, your work, school or other important things in your life. 

It is a fact that majority of the people run to the net when they have a bad day and are looking for a way to escape their problems or to quickly relieve stress or self-soothe. Yes! They do it to manage unpleasant feelings such as stress, loneliness, depression, and anxiety.

Well, losing yourself online helps you to temporarily escape from your loneliness, stress, anxiety, depression and boredom. But the truth is, that remedy is fake and just an illusion. Wouldn’t you rather experience life than speak about it in a tweet? It is vital and healthy to focus on how to be social and not how to do social. Status updates only allow us to be more easily involved in the lives of others but are rarely the solution.

The ability by great leaders in life and business to be physically present and focusing on matters at hand is the sole reason they are successful. Being present is one of the greatest skill sets you can ever master. 

In the short term, being present will help you to do better in life situations, develop better relationships and make great first impressions on the people who will help you develop your professional network to find a job or succeed in your field. 

In the long term, mastering the ability to remain present helps you become more focused, successful and even healthier.

When we were young, our parents and teachers taught us to be present in the moment, out of courtesy to those we are with. That is what we popularly referred to as paying attention when you are in an arrangement with another person. 

But somehow, many of us have allowed this rush of new technology to push aside the present moment, along with many of the manners we were taught at an early age.  No wonder we are experiencing so many weird behaviour among people these days, especially in the youth.

Social media and Internet is slowly taking away our lives and rendering us more useless as human beings. Unless we take control and arrest this situation now, very soon we will have no generation to look up to. 

The dice is already cast and it is the highest time, as Kenyans, we woke up and claimed back our social being. 

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