Last Saturday, I was watching a delayed telecast of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Talk TV. Fans of this show would probably be familiar with the segment “Jaywalking” wherein Leno interviews random people on the street and tests their knowledge/familiarity with a certain topic. In this episode, Leno talked to several college students and asked them questions, which are intended to measure their knowledge on social networks versus the real world.
It is funny to hear these students reply so quickly when asked questions related to Facebook and Twitter yet so baffled when asked about history and real life facts. But on the other side of the coin, it reveals a sad truth. And that is: today’s generation might be losing touch with reality.
Surely, the Internet has brought wonders to our life. It bridged communication gaps. It has the ability to connect people from point A to point B and in real time. The Internet has made information convenient and available anytime, any place where there is a connection.
Entertainment is no longer limited to your television, radio or theater. Freedom of speech is blatantly practiced. You can shop for anything such as clothes, appliances, cleaning products and etc; order food and have it delivered at your doorstep; or even be employed and earn money. Definitely, the Internet has opened a lot of windows to opportunities and events that are used to be found only in the real world.
Social networking vs reality
In the advent of Facebook, Twitter and all of these sites, many teens and adults are hooked with social networking. The mere fact that you can instantly get updates from your close friends (near or far; forgotten and not) has made people fall deeply in love with social media. In fact, most people have admitted that logging on to Facebook has become a part of their daily routine.
Social networks have truly made a revolutionary change in human interaction. Hence, it is still a double-edged sword. While Facebook has indeed made communication a lot easier and faster, it is not and will never be a substitute to physical interaction. It is merely “supplements” to actual human socialization. You cannot just rely on these sites to complement your responsibility in the society.
Are we losing touch with reality?
In our country, I wouldn’t say that we are losing touch with reality. The Philippines is not yet at par with neighboring countries in terms of Internet connection speed and availability. But still, we are getting there. And this is very evident with our youth today.
Have you noticed how many kids below the age of 13 own a Facebook account? Have you noticed how the youth is more familiar about Walls and Tweets than History and Science? How many of them actually go out on the street and play sipa or tumbang preso (except for the urban poor of course)? Ask them about Jose Rizal’s full name and you’ll probably get an “Uhh..”
There is nothing wrong with progress. Knowledge is one of God’s many gifts to humanity and we should use it, nourish it and develop it. But there should be a limitation. The Internet is both a gift and a responsibility. As the elderly, we should set an example to the youth. Show them that the real world is much more ‘awesome’ than what you see online.