We have a new addiction in our lives and it’s called the mindless worship of gadgets.
We can’t do without our gadgets and the main culprits are smartphones and tablets.
Our popular gadgets are simply inanimate electronic devices that are designed to serve a purpose. For instance, the primary function of a cellphone, regardless of its make, is to make and receive calls. Anything else after this is secondary: but people tend to spend their every waking moment glued to them, switching from one app to another, texting, streaming videos and checking Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates. To them, the outside world becomes a nonentity as they continue to worship, devoutly, the electronic device in their hands. Take away anybody’s smartphone and they’ll become suicidal!
And there’s the gadgets themselves: the pricier, apparently, the better. How many of us still worship the God of Apple? We can’t wait for the next iPhone, iPad, iWatch or i-whatever to hit the stores before we rush out to buy it, whether we need it or not: in turn, we’ve turned our God, the Apple Corporation, into one of the richest companies on Earth.
Any gadget bought, today, is not worth what you pay for it. Being slaves to consumerism the big corporations prey on our insatiable appetite for more and sell us useless upgrades, often for more money. Can anyone tell me what is the main discerning difference between an iPhone 4 and iPhone 6? None really, just a few added features and you’re prepared to pay through the nose for it!
Whilst these devices are handy, a necessity in the 21st century, alarming new statistics suggest we are allowing them to take over lives.
Our physical community structure is breaking down as more and more people are shunning physical contact with others in favour of virtual online relationships: we date online, socialize online and talk to each other online. Apps are being developed almost on a daily basis to enslave us more to our smartphones; you don’t even need to go out on to the street and hail a taxi anymore – just uber-it!
The inherent danger we expose ourselves too is that these devices we entrust our lives to are not safe: they can easily be taken over by hackers with evil or criminal intent. What happens to you when a hacker takes over your Facebook, Twitter or bank accounts? You’ll be in trouble! With no backup or means to access your accounts, you stand to lose a huge chunk of your life.
And there’s also the health risks: repetitive strain injury from endless pressing away with your fingers and eye strain from staring at the screen for too long. Psychologically you become more and more isolated from the community and the world around you as your entire life is conducted through the touchscreen of your smartphone.
People should learn to rely less on their electronic gadgets and use them primarily for what they were designed for. They are designed to complement our lives and not take them over. A cell phone is designed to receive and make calls and not to be stared at every five minutes checking for social media updates!
Tony Ogunlowo is a social critic. He tweets from @Archangel641.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.