Addictive Apps and Their Social Impacts

Let’s face it. We live in a society where we are glued to our mobile devices every day, and that fact isn’t going to change anytime soon.
The Internet has taken over the world. With just a swipe of a smartphone, you can do almost anything you like. You can access social media, play casual games, download music and more with the unlimited smartphone applications available.One of the most hyped smartphone apps in recent years was Pokémon Go.
Pokémon Go was launched in mid-2016 by developer Niantic Labs and it brought a huge wave of players to the screen. I remember when it was just released, it was such a popular game that Facebook feeds and news sites were constantly inundated with news regarding Pokémon Go. It was indeed a major trend that time.
It is certainly understandable why a person would engage so passionately in Pokémon Go – nostalgia. The word ‘Pokémon’ is sure to whip up some memories of those in their 20s-30s now. I recall the days when I would binge watch Pokémon and collect Pokémon trading cards. I can imagine the pleasure to be able to catch Pokémon and battle in gyms is indeed a dream come true for the enthusiastic fans.
Having watched Ash Ketchum catch Pokémon since I was a kid, I also downloaded the app soon after it was released. I found the game quite entertaining, as its augmented reality really does serve a purpose to enjoy the game. In order to capture rare and specific Pokémon, you are forced to journey to different locations in real life. This helps to get people out of their homes and explore places that they will not normally go. I feel that the game motivates players to collect them all, with rarer Pokémon being harder to capture.
A few weeks ago, “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” was also announced to arrive in the coming future as well. To be brought to us by Niantic Labs and WB Games San Francisco, the game will also utilise augmented reality technology. We are expected to be able to explore the wizarding world, filled with mysterious artefacts and fantastic beasts!
The game, I expect, will draw huge numbers of participates too. JK Rowling’s wizarding world is going to be brought back to life.  The reason why it will draw overwhelming attention is attributable to its brand, Harry Potter – the famous fiction book and movie series that we all know is simply a global phenomenon. Together with the strong influence of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them as well, “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” is surely on any fan’s smartphone application checklist in the near future. By the time “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” is released in the future, being an avid Potter fan myself, I will surely be intrigued to wave a magical wand and cast spells in reality, albeit an augmented one, as well.
Regarding the issue of addictiveness, there were some awesome games on Facebook as well, namely Restaurant City and Pet Society, a few years ago. Restaurant City allows you to manage your very own virtual restaurant and cook up sumptuous delicacies on the way; Pet Society lets you adopt your own virtual pet online, feeding him and levelling up. I had to log in on a consistent routine so that I did not lose out on my ‘virtual’ responsibilities. It was a period when I was still an impressionable adolescent, who didn’t really have to ability to control myself. I found myself constantly paying more attention to the games, rather than my surrounding environment.
Although these games can be somewhat addictive, we should hold the responsibility to be able to control ourselves. As a young adult going to college now, I realised that I should be able to have the sensible mind to properly manage myself and the way I spend my time.
Games are addictive, but I dare say that there is a more severe issue rooted into modern society systems now.
How do we talk to people nowadays? One serious topic is the social impacts brought about by social media and technology altogether. Together with smartphone applications, will these modern technologies serve more benefits as a tool of convenience and entertainment to us, or will it just further mark an era where we only connect through our screens, being ever more disconnected from any emotional connections?
With the constant improvement of modern technology, one would really question our generation’s ability to connect in real life interactions.