As technology invades every aspect of our daily lives, more and more people are becoming critical of the digital era. Although it may seem as if phones are interfering in experiencing life, in some elements, it can enhance it in ways we take for granted. With the introduction of WhatsApp in 2009, people around the globe have been able to instantly message each other for the low cost of $1 per year. iMessage and other proprietary messaging apps have been around for years, but connecting with others, especially to those in other countries, can be tedious without the use of a WiFi-based app such as WhatsApp.
Personally, I use WhatsApp on a daily basis, whether it be discussing upcoming plans for the summer with my cousins or receiving random Urdu messages from my grandpa in Pakistan. Some new features added over the years, such as video chatting and voice calls have been a great addition for my parents, as they try to connect to as many relatives in Pakistan as possible. Being that the service provided is unparalleled to that of other major text messaging app and is fairly cheap, Whatsapp has been able to provide people in third world countries with luxury.
My relatives in Pakistan struggle to use FaceTime and other messaging apps since their WiFi lacks proper support and their phones are mostly a couple of models behind those here. However, with WhatsApp, my mom has been able to connect with my grandpa in the happiest and saddest of times, and those moments are crucial when your family members are halfway across the world. In impoverished areas across the world, simple yet intuitive apps, with the development of technology, have enabled a lifetime of memories to be shared in seconds. I have been able to virtually sit down with my grandpa and hear him talk about his childhood as technology being a barrier starts to slowly fade with new updates and improvements.
Although my parents may tell me to get off my phone to experience life (and usually they’re right), the connectivity enabled by apps like WhatsApp have strengthened my relationship with my cousins in upstate New York. From planning summer trips to Florida – to talking about why the sky is blue, messaging apps have brought me closer to my cousins, and the moments shared in those group chats cannot be replicated.
As technology envelops our society today and becomes a seamless part of our daily life, we become unappreciative of just how connected we are to those closest to us in our lives. For example, if my mother had immigrated to America in the 1940’s instead of the 90’s, she would never have been able to share our childhood with her parents.
Although it may distance a child and parent within the home on occasion, technology such as WhatsApp has been able to and will continue to bring friends, family members, and distance relatives closer.