“Look Up” is one of the many YouTube videos that has recently gone viral in the social media. It delivers an impactful message about the many disadvantages of social media in our life. One thing to also note, the author of the video, Gary Turk, only has one video on his YouTube account and yet this video has currently earned around 43 million hits. The author is a writer, director, and performer and has few other projects as featured in his website.
After watching the video, I’ve realized a few things. True enough, even in our household, social media is changing how we create connections. It affects how I get to spend time with my family. But don’t worry, it’s nothing too serious because I still get to spend quality time with my husband and daughter. And to be quite frank, it does help in a number of ways. I’m not in defense of the social media here, but I gotta say that there actually are pros and cons to it. So in general, it all depends on how one uses it.
Stacee and Her Enthusiasm for YouTube
There have been many times that once Stacee wakes up, after greeting us, she would immediately ask for my phone to view cartoons on YouTube. There are times that we get to steer her attention away from it but sometimes, she just won’t budge. Yes, it has helped her learn a number of things and it has helped us keep her quiet in a corner for a number of times. We do our best to give her other activities and we don’t always rely on the Internet to keep her entertained.
A kid will still need lots of exercise. We let her play outside with her playmates, we go out with her, or we also play or read books with her. It is true that active play is better than just letting her watch cartoons or toy demonstrations via YouTube or through our TV. But there are also times that I’m thankful that the media she got exposed to has helped her learn more things that her current environment won’t allow. We’re not financially privileged to finance for tutorials, expensive toys, or tours to different educational spots but at least through social media she gets to expand her horizon.
Stan and His Computer and Cell Phone Games
Well, we’ve got WiFi at our home. That enables us to get automatically connected to a variety of online apps and games. I do share Stan’s interest in computer games and that is at least something that we agree on among many other things. At times, I let him play the games that he want and it’s good to know that he’s got a healthy vice and not anything that involves too much smoking, alcohol, or gambling. So this is a better vice. The good thing is he knows how to compromise. When I need him to not go online and spend time with me or Stacee, he’s willing to oblige. Although there are times that I need to wait for him to finish up from a Dota 2 session or get the chance to save a game so it kind of eats up some time.
Yes, these games are entertaining up to some extent. But it is not always healthy. So I appreciate that Stan and I gets to agree as to how long is too long of a game and when is the right time to stop, so I don’t really have any reason to totally ban his games from our house. And besides, I do play a number of online games myself. So again, it’s all on how you handle the media at home.
Social Media and How it Eats Up Time
I’m not someone who’ll spend 24 hours just viewing Facebook just to check my news feeds. But I’ve got a few other online items I spend time working on. One is this blog, another is my Dragon Nest game, then there’s Pinterest, Gmail, some YouTube, and a few other online applications on my phone. So yeah, it totally eats up time. When you sit and get busy in front of the computer, you’d just realize after a few statuses posted, blog posts published, videos streamed, or character levels increased, time has suddenly past and that’s time you can never get back.
So one thing that people might actually regret when using social media, and any other media for that matter, is loss. Loss of time, relationships, personal connections, special moments, and human experiences that the Internet connectivity can never replace. Loss of touch with reality. When I was younger and have just recently discovered the power of social media, I’ve actually been into deep until my father made me realize the importance of living life outside the four corners of my room shared with my siblings. I got so caught up with living my life as an online game character, socializing with players from other parts of the globe, finding achievement in leveling up and completing quests. I never realized how it’s starting to affect my productivity in many ways.
I’m thankful that my father got to teach me a lesson that I’ve picked up again from this video. That there is a world outside the cyber space. And the real world is more important than the virtual reality that many of us are trying to live in. I am guilty to having been influenced by the influx of information and entertainment as these were brought to me through optic fibers, coaxial cables and LCD monitors. But nothing beats how real life experiences can bring you joy, contentment, and fulfillment of living life to the fullest by building relationships and establishing personal connections using all five of your senses.
So quoting Gary Turk: “So look up from your phone, shut down the display. Take in your surroundings, make the most of today. Just one real connection is all it can take to show you the difference of being there can make.” There really isn’t any problem with social media. Knowing how to balance life and technology is what matters. The social media was made to enhance your life, not to hinder you from living it. Who knows what connections you can make just by taking time to keep your head up and take your eyes away from the screens. Start seeing the world in different light today. There’s no harm in looking up.