New media blessing or curse?

The advent of new media technology has transformed people’s daily activities and communication is now done in real time.

Social scientist Marshal Mcluhan says: “The object has taken control of the subject.” Contextually, it refers to that technology that has now taken control of its subjects — people.

Without your smartphone or if your social plug-ins such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram are not working, one feels as if a close family member has passed away. It is this addictive nature of new media that has destroyed the social interaction within a family.

Family members can be in the same room, but each person will be totally glued to their own gadget. No-one worries about anyone. Self-gratification seems to be solely found in new media.

A few years back, the family sat as a unit, discussed and shared stories, but new media, especially WhatsApp, has assumed that role. Social conversations are now confined to WhatsApp. Jokes, video clips and images circulate on this newly created platform.

A family member can even tell about feelings or thoughts or a relative of friend by simply looking at their status. Very little time is now spared for family interaction.

The family unit has virtually collapsed, everyone is now concerned about fulfilling the new needs of the electronically created families.

These new WhatsApp families have a strong bond.

They share much in common and the prolonged time they spend on these social networks shows that new media technology has taken over.
— Clever Kudakwashe Mlambo (Media Student)

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