With the age of technology, we face some new and previously unknown problems with increased integration with others. We all value experiences throughout life, but the real question is to what level are those experiences worth? Can we honestly say an experience someone shares over the internet is valued on the same level as experiencing that event for yourself?
For example, many of us like to watch the Travel Channel and see what cool and different places we visit could be. Yet most of us have the sense to know that seeing it on TV is nothing like seeing it in person. I would argue that a generation that values interactions online to the level we do today may not fully understand that concept.
One of the adverse effects social media has had on us is posting life experiences on Facebook is all about getting likes. Twitter is all about getting followers and retweets. Instagram is all about getting followers and likes on photos. This has changed our psychology from valuing experiences for ourselves, and created a sense of valuing experiences based on how others value them.
Our sense of identity no longer exists within ourselves and our endeavors, it exists within others and how they perceive them. At least for the younger generations. The real question is: Is this really something we should be worried about? I would say yes. I grew up on video games and behind a computer screen. The value of my world was defined by how powerful my character was. By how many reliable friends I had to raid with. Whether or not I fit in with the world I was playing in, not the real world around me.
This has, in many unforeseen ways, negatively impacted me severely. I'm 26 and still trying to figure out what it means to make my way in the real world. As difficult as it is to admit, I have problems valuing interactions with others in the real world. I have problems placing value in experiences beyond a screen, and it's something I'm working on for myself. At this age, and with a strong desire to experience things in the real world, things change overwhelmingly quickly.
A lot of time was lost when I was more capable and receptive to placing value in interactions. My childhood was hardly a sob story, and it's difficult to regret things when you truly understand where your life has taken you. However, it doesn't mean I don't wish to provide a warning for others on how these things truly effect us as people.
I see similarities in others and how they interact with technology and how I grew up, and it makes me question how it effects their psychology. Someone who is attached to their phone and social media exhibits similar problems, but in a different fashion. We can be sociable with others and get out into the world and still not value those experiences the way we should. I cannot speak for anyone buy myself, but I truly take issue with how I perceive and value the world because of this problem.
Hopefully, this is an individual case of how life has unfolded for me. I would hate to see others have to struggle with the same problems. However, I can't help but feel like I've become a lot more understanding and intelligent simply because of these psychological hurdles. Perhaps on the other end, I will learn to appreciate things on a deeper level. I guess I will let you know when that happens.
In any case, I think this is an important issue to keep in mind. The moral of this story is moderation applies to all things in life. Time and place are always important when experiencing life. You cannot substitute experience with understanding. Sometimes, thinking it through, just doesn't cut it.