How staying connected makes us less connected.

These days, having a smartphone is less of a luxury and more of an everyday carry. The smartphone is less of a phone and more of an ultra portable computer. We call less, but do everything else more.

The smartphone keeps us online all the time now, but is this a good thing? We get instant and real-time access to information and news. We’re able to reach out to friends all the time with handy tools like Facebook, Twitter and most especially the reigning IM tool of the day: WhatsApp.

Without realising it, we are constantly connected and unable to go offline. This pattern has happened before in the form of Blackberry phones and the constant urge to check and respond to emails. With the increased popularity of the smartphone (iPhone, Android and other OSes), things can only get worse.

This phenomenon detracts from our real quality of life. There is an inability to focus on what is around us, and the constant flow of alerts and messages distracts us from what is at hand. We stay glued to our phones during mealtimes, being less able to engage in conversation with friends and family. Not only is this a loss on quality of life, it is rude. How would you feel if your dinner partner mumbled perfunctory replies and tapped on his phone incessantly throughout dinner? Pretty annoyed I bet.

Never forget that technology is but a tool. It is important to exercise discipline and not let technology blind us to what is truly important – human relationships.

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