What are We Doing on Our Phones?
Did your parents ever accuse you of staring at your phone all day?
I'm not saying we're not guilty of doing this. A lot of our precious time is wasted scrolling through social media, liking posts, typing comments. But is that all? Are we really accomplishing nothing by making use of our phones?
I had a chance to reflect on what it's like to live in the digital era. It has made me question whether we're actually doing something meaningful with our phones, or if it's what our parents say we are doing – wasting our lives with something intangible.
According to UNESCO, the uses of digital devices, communication applications, and the ability to access networks and manage information are defined as digital skills that are imperative to know to survive in the 21st century. Setting up a social media account or having the ability to distinguish facts from hoaxes may seem as easy as breathing air to you, but they're now legally defined skills.
Gen Z, also known as the generation most hooked to their smartphones, has access to anything and everything through their phones. They shop, watch movies, write memos, listen to audiobooks and more all through their phones.
Nashiha Ali, a student of Holy Cross College, shares her opinion, "I spent a huge chunk of my time during this pandemic doing digital drawings. As someone who is new to the whole thing, I had a lot of help watching tutorial videos and scrolling for hours on Instagram and Pinterest on my phone."
Al Zubayer Onkon, a grade 12 student, says that he's aware of wasting time on social media and understands why his parents think negatively of it. "But that's not all," he adds, "I've also increased my work productivity and enhanced certain skills, and once I showed my parents this, they became more supportive."
We've seen young people setting up their own kitchens or small businesses, posting tutorials, organising events, and taking action over important issues through their phones. Students are turning their hobbies into part-time jobs using mobile phones and earning money to cover their own expenses.
Social media is a great tool for networking and finding opportunities. However, it has acquired such an infamous reputation that it's quite difficult for our elders to think that anything good could come from it. The generation gap between the Gen Z, millennials, and the Gen X is a crucial factor.
Gen Z didn't have to adapt to smartphones; they got accustomed to it like they did their native languages. For that reason, Gen Zs are more comfortable with doing work digitally than on paper. "It's much faster, and I can store everything in one place," says Sadia Hossain Samarah, an A Level student.
Is our attachment to technology healthy or addictive?
UNESCO.org (March 16, 2018). Digital Skills Critical for Jobs and Social Inclusion.
Sabiba Hossain is a Hufflepuff who plans to go into hibernation every winter but never succeeds. Send her fantasy book recs at fb.com/Sabibastro