DIALOGUE|Confessions of a Social Media Addict

Are Smartphones the New Opium of the Masses?



Obsession and diligent usage are often confused and this has often been the case as far as our relationship with technology is considered. Let us explore the layers of this complex debate through the author’s first-hand experience.

Amir Sayed is a Research Scholar – based in Noida.

The New Leam has never failed to raise debates that are thought-provoking and that compel readers to undertake an inner journey of self-discovery. I have been carefully thinking about the latest debate that was generated on your platform about smartphones and techno-gadgets having become the new addition or rather the opium of the masses. I have been using these devices for a long time and have also been addicted to social media.

These days I feel that while I have many friends on social networking sites. I seldom find an occasion to chat with my friends, spend quality time together and discover new things in the real world- here everybody seems to be so busy in their own lives that I often feel our community existence has become more virtual than real. I can say from my own experience that taking good photographs of the self, updating on relationships and life achievements, showing-off to others one’s new gadgets and lifestyle on social media have become so intrinsic to our day to day life, that we often don’t realise that we are being addicted to it and thus cutting ourselves away from the natural flow of life.

I have seen family members coming to dine together in a restaurant, busy on their own phones instead of talking to each other throughout the meal. Earlier when I went to hill stations or the seaside, I would make it a point to take a hundred selfies before even looking at the place with my bare eyes! Off late I did an experiment and tried living without using my phone or the internet for half a day. I must confess it made me restless and want to check my updates; I resisted the temptation and focussed my attention on playing with my little niece unconditionally and listening to my favorite piece of music.

Believe me, I tried doing this for almost a week- and though achieving success was difficult, it made me want to keep trying. Today I don’t feel restless or unhappy when the Wi-Fi stops working or when my smartphone doesn’t catch a network at an unknown destination; I can tune into my inner being and enjoy the beauty of the present moment. I am saying all this from the experience of an addict and believe me all of it comes from the heart. I thank you for bringing up a theme that is so much in tune with the crisis of our age.


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