Friends, Texting……

Today I have 380 “friends” on Facebook. Who are my friends? What is a friend? Are these 380 my friends; except 15/20 “friends”, 30 others interact with me on yearly basis, maybe. Do we interact with our first family on Facebook, especially when we stay in the same house? Some do! I know of husband/wife wishing happy birthday on Facebook! This is a social networking site but it is turning out to be an antisocial technology. What has FB achieved? It has “connected” people virtually but in real life it has disconnected people. For an event, in “friends” life, we feel that it is good enough to wish on FB and be done with it. We have forgotten the art of talking to friends on phone. That too because we don’t have time to talk on phone; where is the time left after FBing, WhatsApping and surfing in general!!  New technology, “bane or boon discussions” have started long back. With proliferation of “smart” phones, which carry FB and WhatsApp, population of dumb people is increasing!

I am old enough to say “In our days things were different”. And yes they really were different. When friends called you to play it was cricket, football, I spy, lagori, gili danda and so on. Now it is X box or Nintendo. We is used to get hurt because we fell down, playing. Now I am told the kids are hurt because their parents haven’t bought the latest game.

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The above caricature is a representative of current thinking. In olden days we used to stop and talk to people to ask directions or an address. Now you have your GPS on and it guides you to the exact address, in most cases. Goal of reaching the destination is achieved but so is disrupt with people. Advantages of talking to someone are many. Just tell me how you feel when you “talk” to a wall called call center? We might as well send them, sms or an email. Some have met their future spouses as they asked them the direction while locating an address!! Can this happen in today’s cutting edge technology era! People’s interactions in general have reduced to a large extent. Probably this is leading many couples preferring to get a dog as a pet instead of having children. Is having children passé?

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This caricature implies the same thought. It’s a great pun on the word “friend”. Does family talk to each other like it happened in olden days? Do kids know their parents and vice versa? I doubt, at least in some cases, because all are busy with their “friends”. You see caricatures of husband telling wife to pass on the salt, through WhatsApp message! Kids don’t become “friends” with their parents. I know of one family who track their child’s FB activity through a family friend, who is their child’s “friend”. What is so secret about an activity which is open to the whole world but is “shut” for the parents? What can be the logic behind this?

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This caricature indicates the undue importance given to the cell phone. The person is just blind to the nature’s beauty. What causes this addiction? I can understand this happening in the initial phase of cell phone ownership but why the addiction level goes up, up & up? Why do people need to take cell phone to bed? All I need to know when I am in bed, is time, when I wake up in between. So I started keeping devices other than cell phone on my side table. My current device is a Kindle! The world does not stop if you do not see an e mail, WhatsApp updated after you go to sleep!!

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Another addiction area that I see is talking on cell phone & texting while driving. The caricature above perfectly shows about this addiction. Are we in such a great hurry that we keep on talking and texting while driving? How did we handle our life pre cell phone era? Do we become over confident that we can multi task easily? Is our brain designed to drive a car at say 60 km and text on cell phone, simultaneously? I don’t think so. What can happen even if a minor emergency arises? How will our brain react? Aero plane accidents have occurred due to wrong pilot reaction in emergencies, though pilot was fully busy in flying the plane (hopefully not texting). Here people try multitasking while driving.

This is a lovely caricature taking a humorous snide at texting while driving!

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Coming back to basic thought of pros & cons of FB’s, WhatsApp, texting. Why are people so addicted about these activities when people know that there can be a real danger to lives. Some time back there was an accident on a ring road. A lady was busy talking on her cell phone while crossing the road. A heavily laden dumper truck swerved to save the lady, lost control and six people died. Truck fell down from a bridge 10 meters high. We read of people, listening to music with ear buds in the ears, have been crushed by trains! Two people fell down while taking a Selfie and drowned in the sea. We also read of people trying to take Selfies on mountains standing very close to the edge of valleys. I recently read about a woman who sent whatsapp messages on New Year Day for six consecutive hours. Then she had to be taken to a doctor to take care of her swollen hand and fingers! Or is it swollen brain!

What is it really that makes people do such stupid things. If you tell someone doing such activity, he/she will not want to listen to what you are saying, if at all they listen to you, they ignore you. Stupidity or over confidence? Are these people trying to impress someone?

Volkswagen has come up with a brilliant film on “Effect of Texting while driving”. Such real life campaigns hopefully will make people realize dangers of what is being done under the guise New Technology usage.

Disclaimer: The caricatures & video are used only for better explanation, there is no commerce involved in writing this.

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Author: panvalkarpramod

I am an engineer by training and run my own business. I like to blog but do not yet get enough time.

5 thoughts on “Friends, Texting……”

  1. Good work, Panya! Even if it stops one person trying to multi task while driving, you would have saved a life! What drives people to do such silly things is over confidence – that I can do multi tasking. What they do not realize is that it works 90+% of the times – but what about the remainder %? It can cost a life or serious injury!

  2. The latest traffic rule to suspend license of a 4 wheeler driver found speaking on mobile phone, if implemented in spirit, would hopefully work as a deterrent. I am told that the rule does not permit use hand off equipment like blue tooth for speaking on mobile phone, since the real purpose is to stop distraction even for a short period.

    The subject touches the social problem very nicely. Free basics is going to make things worst, since the service providers want their customers to be addicted even more by offering attractive schemes.

    1. Panya, I am all for the restrictions on using mobiles while driving. Any distraction while driving is risky – Since the purpose is to avoid accidents, save lives of people inside & outside the car, I firmly believe that this regulation should be ruthlessly applied and offenders fined – especially when the gap between moving vehicles in India is probably the least in the world.

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