The introduction of WhatsApp in our lives has been a blessing in disguise. From talking to friends or sexting the person you met in the bar last night, to asking your roadside vendor to bring vegetables to your house, WhatsApp has made communication hassle-free and easy. But, it has come with a series of repercussions, WhatsApp groups.
It’s safe to say that WhatsApp has connected us like never before. The 4G revolution in the country has made WhatsApp widely accessible. But then, noisy WhatsApp Groups have made our lives miserable and necks hurt. If you know what we’re talking about, you’re in for a rollercoaster ride. If you don’t, you might find this a revelation. So let me tell you why WhatsApp Groups are the number one cause of phone addiction.
While in college, I was a part of around seven WhatsApp Groups with my college friends. At first, it felt really cool to belong to exclusive groups because duh! Texting from one group to another without making the mistake of sending the wrong text was a clever skill I eventually picked up. After all, it was like a ‘secret society’ only few members had access to and one couldn’t leak anything. Whatever happened in the group, stayed in the group unless there was an ‘exit’, which WhatsApp users would identify as a breakup gone bad. At that point, I was all enthu about being part of these groups, but there was a problem – Notifications!
At first, it was all fun and games until the notifications started getting on my nerves. I would keep on looking at my phone every other minute. I am pretty sure we all do it even today. The fear of missing out started to become the new normal of my life, and without even realising, I welcomed it with open arms. During class hours, lunch breaks, lectures, bathroom breaks, and before hitting the sheets, these notifications from WhatsApp Groups controlled my actions. Scrolling down to 50-odd WhatsApp messages that weren’t adding any value to my life became an addiction. Mind you, I didn’t realise it then. It was an uncontrollable action and the worst part is, every single person around me was doing it. Texting meticulously on these WhatsApp Group was a default feature in my body (and many existing bodies on this planet). It went to a point where I spent more time with my friends on these WhatsApp Groups than actually hanging out with them in real-life. Scary, I know, but true.
When college was done, I had the perfect excuse to ‘exit’ the group because it was no longer needed, for me, at least. I remember thinking, “No more unnecessary notifications and being part of the conversation unwillingly.” But wait, it wasn’t over yet. Life, work, and new WhatsApp Groups happened. The vicious cycle was happening all over again. The notifications were never-ending and I was even more addicted to my phone than I was earlier. By the time you thought it’s over, the next set of WhatsApp notifications came in like an avalanche. That’s when it got me thinking – every single person with WhatsApp on their phones goes through the same thing. It’s crazy how friends and family WhatsApp Groups are annoying yet addictive enough that we often refuse to exit to avoid questionable behaviours. What do we get off of it?
It all starts with “Oh, let’s make a WhatsApp Group (and name it something really cool)” and ends up being an overload of notifications you can’t resist but can’t help but check it right before you sleep. Now, that’s addiction in the real sense. We all have this urge to keep ourselves connected with the people around without actually making the effort of making real connections. WhatsApp has made our life easy, but out compulsive itch to keep ourselves up-to-date with every new WhatsApp Group messages has caused our fingers to go numb and necks crooked like the grandma next door. It’s unnerving to think that WhatsApp controls us and not the other way round.
The next time you make a pact with your family or friends to start a WhatsApp Group, do yourself a favour and ask yourself, “Is it really worth the time and trouble?”
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