Does real contact still exist?

Each contact with a human being is so rare, so precious, one should preserve it.
~ Anaïs Nin

There was a time that I could have a decent chat with my daughter without the interference of a smartphone. Unfortunately, that time has gone. Although she’ll look at me when we talk, she can’t help but touch her phone or peak at the screen when we’re having a conversation. Or rather, when I’m talking to her. The only way to get her attention is to make her put her phone far far away.

Sometimes, when we go out for shopping and my daughter is hanging around in a store, I would go outside and wait for her. I’m just getting to the age at which hanging around in stores to kill time is not my favourite activity anymore. I could use my time more wisely. When I’m waiting outside, my favourite activity is to observe people, passersby. Occasionally I would make contact with some nice people and have a chat. Face to face. I still believe that’s the nicest thing to do.

During my observations on such an occasion I start to notice that more and more people are keeping their heads down. Not as a precaution; looking for things that can make them trip over, no, it’s because they couldn’t take their eyes of their smartphones. Some of them even stare at their phone in company of a friend. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were communicating with each other via WhatsApp instead of just talking face to face.

I have to admit, I’m guilty too! I, too, would get my phone, just to check for messages even though it didn’t alert me. What is it that we feel like we can’t live without a phone these days? We’ve become too afraid to lose contact with the world if we stay offline, that we don’t realise that we’ve already lost contact with the real world by being online.

It’s time to put that phone away…