Zoya Zafar, student
Ehtishaam Bashir, student
Kounsain Qureshi, student
Haseeb Saqib, student
Huzaifa Jeelani, student
Muskaan Shafat, student
Niason Arif, student
Munaza Arif Beigh. Counsellor DPS
This edition of Let’s Talk was held in Delhi Public School Srinagar. Students discussed the topic, ‘Is social media affecting relations’ with the host Nishah Zargar.
Nishah: Tell me honestly, how much time do you give to social media and how much to your family?
Zoya Zafar: Very less time is given to family. I go home I grab my phone first. First, I chat with my friends and then I look around for my mother.
Ehtishaam Bashir: Out of 24 hours in a day, 20 are given to social media and four to my family and people around me. Most of the time is given to social media.
Kounsain Qureshi: I think 80 percent of my time goes to social media. When I go home I first use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I don’t have time for family; even I don’t get time for books.
Haseeb Saqib: No doubt I use social media a lot, 20 percent of my time goes to it. But I use it for informative purposes, like on Facebook I have liked many informative pages of science, religion, etc and I read their posts.
Huzaifa Jeelani: As soon as we reach home, there is an urge to check Facebook to see how many notifications and messages we have. We always decide that we will use social media just for an hour, but then this hour never ends.
Muskaan Shafat: I am not such a huge social media user. I use social media but I don’t spend much time there, just because I believe what is more productive is to spend time with ourselves and books.
Niason Arif: I would say that I am like everybody else here, whenever I go home, the first thing I do is find my phone and check whether I have any texts, and then if I get some time, I will spend that with my family.
Nishah: Okay, so this means that most of you give maximum time to social media and less time to your family and friends. Does it affect your relationship with your family, somehow?
Haseeb Saqib: I think, the life we live, as being friends with people on social media, is the virtual world of fantasies. When we text someone we don’t include the emotions. If we talk to someone face to face, we communicate in a better way with that person.
Nishah: Ms. Munaza, being a counselor, what do you think?
Munaza Arif: When we talk about the positive aspect of it, it really helps us to be in contact with the friends, relatives and our loved ones. But when we look on the dark side of the social media, its influence on relationships, it is drastic. We are not able to develop that empathetic and affectionate attitude towards real life situations. When we talk about teenagers, they have a need to widen their social circle and at this point of time love to spend their time with peers instead of parents. And social networking sites are adding to the fire, as children use social media all the time they don’t spend time with their family. Even adults are addicted to social media and mind is always preoccupied which causes strain in the relations.
Nishah: How many friends do you have on social media and how many friends do you have in real life?
Huzaifa Jeelani: I only add people whom I know personally; at least they have to be my acquaintances. I have around 100 friends on facebook; most of them are of my batch. Others include my teachers and friends.
Niason Arif: I would like to add something positive. I recently started to use social media and it helped me to connect with a lot of people who are very far away from me. Sometimes few caring words from a person, who is far away, matter a lot and these things are possible only because of social media.
Nishah: So do you mean that social media somehow strengthens the relations?
Naison: Yes, for me it has helped me a lot. I am in contact with my friends who live far away and sometimes, what I cannot discuss with my parents, I discuss it with these friends.
Muskaan Shafat: We are all different and I believe that some people are not very expressive, but they are very creative with their words and they can text very beautifully. Everybody does not have solace in their parents because if we are struck by the phenomenon of social media, so are our parents. So there is a generation gap and a social media drift which is occurring between us. So when we find our parents busy we talk to someone on social media, so in a way, it is something which is connected.
Nishah: When we come to relationships, isn’t social media giving a platform to ignore face to face relations? Like when our parents or siblings don’t have time for us, we simply ignore them and move to social media?
Munaza: As I said there are both positive and negative factors. It depends on the use, how much a person uses social media. If we use social media just to stay updated and in contact with our friends, then it is good but when it comes to excessive usage, then it creates the problem.
Nishah: when you see an update of a friend on social media that he is going out with family or has got a new gadget, do you get negative thoughts about your family or feel like you are not getting what your friend has?
Ehtishaam: It can happen in person as well. Like my friend says to me that she had got this and that, it will affect me this way as well but yeah people do show-off on social media.
Nishah: Do you think that our mind is preoccupied with social media stuff. So does that affect you as well?
Ehtishaam: It does affect me, like when I am with my friends I keep checking my phone. This happens with everybody today, we sit with our friends but our mind is still with social media.
Kounsain Qureshi: Yes, it affects us. It’s like when I am sitting with you, I am looking at you but my mind is somewhere else. I think about the conversation I had while chatting with my friends. I am in class but my mind is still with social media.
Nishah: Do you think that social media is increasing the fakeness in relationships?
Huzaifa: What happens is that on social media we create ourselves! In reality we are what we are but on Facebook there is a possibility that we show people what we want them to see about us. So we just put good things about us there and what we see about a person on social media, he/she is totally opposite in reality. And it happened to me as well, I had a friend on social media but the person turned out to be fake. And today it happens with almost everybody.
Naison Arif: I would like to say that it is fabrication kind of thing. We always like to put ourselves at the best place like I have the best watch, I went to the best restaurant, we let people know what we have the best, we are the best, we have the best. This ‘the best’ thing prevailing in our society is what is hampering us and thus giving birth to the fakeness factor.
Nishah: Is it true that now we even show our anger through social media. Like whenever we are angry with someone the first thing we do is that we block them on Facebook, Whatsapp etc?
Haseeb Saqib: No, it is not always like that, for example, someone texts us constantly during our exams or when we are busy, so we just block them and it is not out of anger but just because we don’t want them there for a particular time. There are different reasons for blocking people; it is not only because of anger.
Nishah: Now I want to know from each one of you that what is better, to sit and talk with your family or friends face to face or sitting alone in your room and talk to friends using social media.
Zoya: It is better to talk to our family and friends face to face rather than on social media.
Ehtishaam: I agree with Zoya. When we talk face to face we share emotions as well which we can’t do on social media.
Kounsain: I think that social media has a problem that we can’t see the expressions there, and for a better communication, understanding expressions is important. And that’s why face to face communication is better than virtual communication.
Haseeb: When it comes to communication, 70 percent of it is conveyed through expressions and gestures and 30 percent is conveyed through language. On social we easily miss the 70 percent part. So I feel face to face relations are better.
Huzaifa: I feel that face to face conversations are certainly better. Sometimes we just don’t want to talk and are sulking in a corner but then the person who sees us that time will understand that something is wrong with me and help me out.
Muskaan: I agree that face to face communication is better because when we are face to face with somebody we are connecting with that person. We don’t use any gadget that time but we sit in front of that person and share our heart out.
Niason: About parents I feel that we have a gap with our parents. There is a difference in thinking and opinions. And to bridge this we need to have those face to face conversations with our parents. In this case social media won’t work.
Munaza: I feel that we should be there on social media and widen our social circle but then it is better to spend more time with our family and friends because face to face interactions are much better.
Nishah: So all of you said that face to face interactions are better than social media interactions and I can conclude that you people know what is good and what is bad. Wish you luck for future and thank you for being a part of Let’s Talk.
(Transcript edited for brevity and clarity)