Smart devices have become an integral part of our lives. Advances in interface technology made by companies like NXP have allowed devices like smartphones and tablets to bring people together more than ever before, in ways never thought of before.
There are online communities for just about everything you can think of. These advances come with their own side effects, however. As we become more connected digitally, we become less connected with the people in our immediate lives.
Smartphones and family life
One of the biggest criticisms of smartphones is that even when the whole family manages to get together physically, everyone has their face down in their phones. In fact, a Google search of a phrase such as “smartphones destroying families” pulls up thousands of articles ranging from dramatic oversimplifications to valid critiques of family life in the digital age. Culturally, people are still adjusting to life with the Internet in the palms of their hands at all times—so much so that there are smartphone addiction treatment centers, while some people refuse to own smartphones altogether.
Ironically, the smart devices credited with letting families drift apart are now bringing them together, all while getting them outdoors. Probably the first significant breakthrough in this area was Geocaching. For those of you who don’t know, Geocaching is where people hide “treasures” in parks and other public places (they’re usually junk or simple nick-nacks) for other people to find using GPS coordinates. Geocaching was around before smartphones; people would originally post locations on various websites and use GPS devices to find them. The activity really took off when smartphones with GPS became commonplace. As big as Geocaching was, the pop-culture phenomenon that came out earlier this summer has had a much larger impact on society in just under three months.
The game changer
Unless you live in solitude in the forest, you’ve probably heard of Pokemon Go; and even then, you may have seen some teenagers looking for Pokemon outside of your cave dwelling. The game has helped people with social anxiety, depression and even PTSD get out of their shells and back outside. Pokemon Go has also helped many families reconnect while adopting more active lifestyles.
Below are some stories from Redditors whose lives have been changed by the free mobile app. You may want to get some tissues.
This Redditor found the motivation to get active for his family thanks to Pokemon Go:
Pokemon Go is making me lose weight from pokemongo
Pokemon Go helped this Redditor find an active hobby for his entire family:
Thank you Pokemon Go for giving me one of the best nights I’ve had in several years. from pokemongo
Parents aren’t the only ones whose family life has improved with Pokemon Go. Just ask this Redditor:
Pokemon GO Has Saved My Relationship With My Family from pokemongo
The success of Pokemon Go shows that smartphones are just as capable of bringing people together as they are of drawing them into seclusion. Technology isn’t inherently helpful or harmful; what matters is how we use it. So get out there with your loved ones. If you’re not sure where to start, there’s always Pokemon Go!