When was the last time you went out with friends or on a vacation and didn’t pose for the “insta” worthy shot? We are ALL guilty of having a camera roll full of outtakes that didn’t make the cut and going out of our way to fake a smile on a bad day, just to make our “content” consistent. The age long saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” still holds true today, where we worship the pictures we take by “liking” them and “reposting” them on every media platform we have. The same photo that made the cut now shows up on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter all in the click of a button. Even though we have over thousands of images on our phones, very rarely do these photos end up in frames but they sit in our “cloud,” getting lost with new memories to replace them. So why is there this need to capture every “picture perfect” moment instead of actually living in that moment? “The image touches us in a way that speech cannot; it becomes the handle for carrying the whole luggage”(Apkon,31) A recent trip I took to the Grand Canyon really put things in perspective for me. Here we are at one of the greatest natural wonders of the world and as I look out onto the endless canyon, I can’t help but notice the people climbing way too close to the edge. They were tourists, as was I, that had a selfie stick and were trying to get the perfect grand canyon pick. They went so far as to scale a part of the mountain to get to the absolute edge for the picture. Now call me crazy, but is a picture really worth falling into the grand canyon for? That’s not on my list of ways I would like to exit this world. Here are some people who took the risk and paid the price: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/02/yosemite-couple-death-selfie-photography-travel-blog-taft-point
In today’s world there are very limited actives that don’t require a screen for enjoyment. No one can live without their phones, TVs, laptops, and smart watches. Even our cars have screens to connect to now. So my question for you: are you the same person you are in front of the screen as you are behind it?
Babies are now fluent in digital literacy by the age of three. For most of us, that took at least sixteen years to master. They can work our phones and iPads better than we can sometimes. Schools now handout tablets instead of books, receipts are emailed and not printed, and shopping is done online, not in stores. Our lifestyle, communication, and learning are constantly changing due to the race of new technological advances. “The time has come to rebuild the idea of “visual-literacy,” not to overthrow it, but to expand it. We must now take into account of what is technologically inevitable in the twenty first-century (Apkon,33).
It’s time to stop hiding behind our screens and start living. The technology is not going to stop advancing, but how we let it effect our lifestyles we can control.
Resources: Apkon, S. (2013) All the world’s a screen. Chapter 1 from: The age of the image: Redefining literacy in a world of screens. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.