By ROXANNE LOW
“WE are a generation of idiots, smart phones, and dumb people, too busy looking down at an invention that we miss out on beautiful things.”
That’s a line from a video titled Look Up, which was uploaded (ironically) to YouTube by British writer and director Gary Turk. In the three weeks since, the video has been viewed over 35 million times.
The poetic short film prompts viewers to think about the younger generation’s obsession with smartphones, and the people we consider as friends on our social media accounts. Are they really friends who would be there for us in times of need? Or are they merely people who give us the “Likes” we so crave for the things we post online?
When I first saw the video, I couldn’t help but agree with Turk. I shared the video with my classmates and many of them concurred as well. Again, the irony of how the video was shared was not lost on me.
But within a few days of the video’s release, there were already three different parodies of Look Up, all titled Look Down. They tell the other side of the story, about how smartphone and Internet technology have also brought plenty of benefits, which have made the world a better place.
Mimicking Look Up’s rhyming commentary, one of the videos said of smartphones: “It’s a valuable tool, why toss it away? It’s like a modern-day penknife; used to pay your bills, take a photo and even find you a wife”, while showing someone scrolling through dating app Tinder.
And instead of going out for a proper drink to socialise, the guy in the video said: “I’ll stick to Whatsapp, Snapchat and Twitter; where the girls might be virtual, but they’re a helluva lot fitter.”
But in all seriousness, it is only too easy to blame technology as the cause of our social awkwardness. After all, smartphones are just tools. It’s really up to us to decide where we want it to take us.
So, how do we make sure we make full use of all the technology we have? Whether you liked it or not, Turk made a pretty good point towards the end of his video. At the end of the day, it’s all about moderation.
He said: “Look up from your phones, and shut down those displays. We have a finite existence, a set number of days.”
The writer is a member of The Star’s BRATs young journalist programme. For more info on how you can join the programme, and to follow all their field assignments, log on to facebook.com/starbrats.