It’s funny, but I’m now becoming one of those older people who say, “What’s happening to young people today!?” As everyone probably knows, I’m working as a physics lecturer, and I see young folks just immersed in these phones and I can’t help but wonder what they’re doing on them. It’s probably hard for me to understand because I’m not on any major form of social media, like Instagram, or Facebook, or whatever.
Like take a look at these young college girls in this video. This is a typical scene you’ll see in a university before class starts. Everyone stares into their phone, and nobody is talking to one another; then you see them hold these things up in the air, make silly faces, and go back to staring at them again.
This baseball game makes for a perfect example. From what I can tell, they’re not at the ball game to have a good time. They’re not even paying attention to the game at all. It’s more like they want to portray a certain image of themselves on social media, a sort of, “Look at me. I had a good time today with the girls.” And if all you saw was a few pictures posted on Facebook, you might think, “Oh, that looks fun, I wish I was there! My life is so boring!” But they’re not having fun. They’re just hoping to be perceived as having fun, and what they really seem to be after is attention of some sort on social media. But what do I know? It’s just my guess.
I hate this stuff. It’s so inauthentic. Guys do it all the time in the gym. They’ll do one set of curls to get warmed up, and then they’ll call their buddy over to film their next set. Then you see them posting the video on Facebook and standing around for the next fifteen to twenty minutes, uploading the video, and waiting for responses. After they’re done putting up some social-media facade of, “I’m at the gym working hard! You should be here too!” they seem rather uninterested in actually working out. And there I am in the background, some middle-aged man with his arms at his side, exasperated expression on his face, waiting for this millennial to get off the machine so I can finish my workout.
When I was a young man I found all the new tech really interesting. I even took the time to learn computer programming and made a living writing computer software for almost a decade. At another time I was a network administrator, an expert in technology and IT. But I’m very disillusioned with technology. It’s convenient and can be really nifty, but that’s about it. It’s not worth all the hype.
I only recently got my first cell phone. It’s nice to be able to text my buddies at the gym, and work out when everyone’s going to show up. I enjoy being able to set up meetings with professors and other graduate students, to collaborate on research. I enjoy being able to email and text everyone from the palm of my hand, at any time. It’s neat that I can always check the weather forecast, or look something up online real quick if I’m in need of a particular piece of information. Having a GPS device in my pocket at all times is cool, especially if I’m traveling to meet someone and all I have is an address; I never have to get lost. There’s lots of convenient, nifty things it can do, but that’s it.
I don’t know what young people are doing on their phones all the time. I don’t know why they find them so interesting. I don’t know why they would rather stare at those things than interact with the people around them. I don’t get social media, and I’ve never been interested in it. I just don’t get it, but I’m a middle-aged man who is slowly but surely, each and everyday, getting more and more out of touch with the people around him.