In times of lockdown, is technology a friend or a foe?

Lockdown has made us all even more technology dependent than we already were. Most of our relationships happen over the phone, through a screen. Technology literally filters most of the things we do… both the useful and the useless ones. So as we reach what feels like an eternity inside our homes, have we come to the point in which the connectivity brought to us by technology has become our primary source of anxiety?

For example, is it only me or can you actually feel the weird emotional situations others are going through just through a simple text message? The thing about putting life on stand by is that everyone knows that you’re there, on the other end of some sort of connection. There are no excuses for not answering, none. It’s like as if we had broken the barriers of time and space even though we are physically so far apart. The thing is that sometimes, even when you’re locked up all by yourself, you just need to be alone. You don’t need to speak to anyone… you just need for it to be you and your thoughts for a while. So how did it happen that even if we are all locked up we all ended up being on top of each other all the time? How is it that we can all just get into each others’ businesses with so much ease? In times of corona virus… is technology a friend or a foe? 

Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong user of technology. I am always connected to something, keeping up with messages and notifications, and I love the fact that sometimes you can resolve an incredible number of problems just with the help of a little device that you keep in your pocket. But is being hyper connected a good thing these days? Are we that afraid of being alone or of actually interacting with those that surround us? In the emotional roller coaster ride that this pandemic has been, I have found myself having mixed feelings about my phone and of what it has come to represent. 

The day that we were locked down, I decided that I wouldn’t be taking my phone outside anymore. This decision was mainly made for hygienic purposes… if I didn’t have my phone in my pocket, I wouldn’t touch it with my potentially contaminated hands (yes, I am paranoid). As time passes, I have found myself being more and more grateful of the time I spend far from reactions on Instagram and the ever more traumatising tweets. In my case, the differences in content and rhetoric between my Twitter and Instagram feeds are so intense that they could make anyone crazy. While my Instagram is all about quarantine cooks, messages of hope and live yoga sessions, my Twitter feed concentrates on social and political injustices. It’s like a fight between the dream world that I want to be living in, one where the outcomes of the pandemic are the road to a better life for all, and a reality so cruel that I’d rather stay locked up and safe inside my apartment. My short walks around the neighborhood and my weekly trips to the supermarket offer me a time lapse where I am away from all that craziness, but when I get home I can’t avoid getting this urge, this need to see what’s going on, this need to be in touch. 

Call me crazy, but sometimes I feel like it’s tiring, even overwhelming. I am forever grateful of the wonderful service and proximity it provides (especially with all my loved ones that live far away), but sometimes I just wish we lived in simpler times where phones didn’t consume so much of our day. For now, I will just resign to turning off my phone from time to time, trying to let go and hoping that this will teach me a durable lesson on my relationship with my phone.  

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