My husband has been getting on me for years now about how he feels I am addicted to my phone. He is not wrong in his accusations, and I recognize that I could use a better WeChat*/life balance. Not long before I moved to the south, he joined a very chatty group on WeChat. Suddenly every spare moment he had, he was off in la la land, sporadically laughing out loud and being nearly impossible to have a conversation with. I guess it was a taste of my own medicine and not a very nice one!
Since I moved to Guangdong, I realize that we are not the only ones with addictions to portable technologies. In fact, we are not even the worst kind of addicted! Around me, I see tables of friends at restaurants all glued to their own phones instead of making conversation with each other. It is a sight to behold! A friend showed me a video he took at the gym of several customers sitting on the benches playing games instead of lifting weights. The most eye-opening experience so far, however, is the man who was supposed to drive a group of us to dinner, but wouldn’t leave until he “levelled up” on his online game. We waited half an hour to leave!
Portable technologies are rapidly changing our world. Though this is positive in a number of ways, we’re too busy enjoying them to notice the real life stuff that is starting to deteriorate because of it. People are losing sight of the value of real life conversations. The understanding and importance of time is shifting. Concepts of what has been thought to be truly important in life are changing.
Change is inevitable and not always negative. Joining one particularly active WeChat group three years ago dramatically transformed my life in very positive ways. I just need to learn how to find a better balance between the online world and off, so that life will not pass me by without me noticing.
That is my hope for all of us, to find a balance. To institute some limits in our lives, and to make sure we are able to really enjoy our friends and families. Let’s not miss our children’s childhoods or our parents’ golden years. Use the technology to share and preserve memories, and to find personal happiness, but not at the expense of the bigger picture.
* WeChat is a messaging app created and popular in China, similar to WhatsApp