My Smartphone, My Tablet PC and my social networks perhaps make me anti-social

04 Oct

There is no doubt that the advent of social networking site and other digital innovations have brought about a profound and meaningful change in our lives. These changes are profound in a sense that communication and the way in which we interact as humans has fundamentally changed. Today it seems that it is no longer necessary to have a chat at a leading coffee shop down town – we can simply do that at the comfort of our couches on our smartphones. Perhaps, the digital generation is losing the human touch.

Are we becoming anti-social human beings? Are our morals eroded by our smartphones on our finger tips?

Why do I ask such rhetoric and unequivocal questions, you may wonder? I ask these questions in part because I have seen a situation where people are sitting together; being busy on their smartphones with none of the party willing to strike a conversation.

Maybe it is our smartphones and our tablet PCs that makes us anti-social beings.

In the age of such technological advancement our fingers are active than our minds. Our faculties are dormant, our fingers creative, and it is our personality that it is in danger.

I am not insensitive to the fact that social media enhances our ability to communicate and gives us all a voice as individuals, but have we pondered on the dangers associated with this advancement?

Perhaps a question that we should ask and try to answer is this: Does social networking contributes to social and moral decay?

In my uninformed opinion – that should perhaps be informed – there is a strong evidence that social media contributes to moral decay, deterioration of ubuntu and degradation of human dignity to a certain extent.
People abuse each other racially and otherwise on social media platforms. Company resources are being abused despite the presence of social media policies.

In everyday of our lives on these platforms, degradation of human dignity, insults and other despicable events seems to be the order of the day. Social media is turning out to be a catastrophic tool in a mould of a great tsunami. The spirit of ubuntu is indeed in a great disaster.

I am also not oblivious to the fact that human errors in the form of social and moral decay have existed since long before any form of social media.

It seems that we are losing the human touch we used to have when greetings were still extended by a firm handshake – and not sent as tweets and status updates as is the norm these days.

Facebook status update

Buddies, the text box in the image above read as “What’s on your mind?”


Posted by on October 4, 2011 in Social Media


Tags: , ,

10 responses to “My Smartphone, My Tablet PC and my social networks perhaps make me anti-social

  1. Nkosinathi

    October 4, 2011 at 4:09 am

    Employers find that many young people do not have the necessary verbal and social skills to obtain a job. Often, those lacking the verbal skills to land a job spend much time networking and texting on cell phones. Not only has social networking impacted the amount of time people spend in physical contact with each other, but it has also caused deterioration in the ability of young people to effectively communicate with potential employers for entry level positions.

    Social networking has created a serious breach in the ability of young people to communicate and interact with each other. Children no longer play together; they network. Adults no longer seek physical companionship; instead, they choose to network and have little or no physical contact.

    well thought of article…nice one.

    • Dumi-rocks

      October 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm

      I concur with you in every sense of the word Nkosinathi. Check when people write academic articles and essays, their writing leaves much to be desired!

      Who are we to judge?

  2. Vuyo

    October 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    The principal question I want to address here today is one that was brought forth by the author himself, that of whether or not “social networking contributes to social and moral decay?” I was tempted, at first, to conclude that this is a philosophical question that sits well within the field of Moral Philosophy. What tempted me into drawing this quick conclusion, if I may call it that way, was the fact that I saw the word “moral”.

    Perhaps, questions already abound about in your head Dumi, and hopefully to those of my fellow brothers on cyberspace community as well, as to why I have nonetheless failed to categories this question as that of either Theology or Religion – since it seems to require moral justifications – which, more often than not, are accompanied and backed up by religious theories. I will not attempt to answer this question here.

    This, however, does not limit me from pointing out that the question we are dealing with here is, both in nature and in form, a question of pure Sociology – a body of knowledge about human social activity. (As a reminder) The issue here is whether or not “social networking contributes to social and moral decay?”
    Although the answer to this pivotal question may, at face value, seem obvious, but one must, in all events, be slow in giving a quick answer without first applying his mind to the question.

    Having applied my mind to the question, I am not persuaded by the argument which provides that: social networking contributes to moral decay: as Nkosinathi argues in the affirmative. (See his reply.) While he does so, I side with the dissenting side.

    There are three problems with Nkosinathi’s argument and at least one with your topic of choice Dumi. Let me start with your topic.

    You topic Dumi, although it raises important questions of morality, is shallow in one respect. This comes as a result of the fact that you do not define to us what you mean by your key terms, like; ‘social and moral decay’ – neither you explain to us what you mean by the term ‘anti-social’. To me, one would appear to be unreasonable if one were to assume or argue that the word is self-explanatory. Any arguments along those lines are doomed to failure.

    Dumi, you leave it on to us to define, maybe in our minds, since Nkosinathi also did not define in writing, what is meant by these key terms. Thus, we indulge ourselves into debates that have no parameters. Definitions help in terms of setting parameters, so that we know upfront what it is that we agree on and what it is that we do not agree on.

    As a consequence, these key terms are subject to various tools of interpretation (see Justice Albie Sack’s judgment in Minister of Home Affairs v Fourie case for various tools of interpretation). Here we could be disagreeing about things which we could have agreed upon, had the definitions been set upfront. I submit, therefore, at least to you Dumi, that the question posed, is, according to Karl Marx, “fiction agreed upon”.

    I now want us to direct our attention to the written and problematic arguments submitted, and quit deliberately, by Nkosinathi.

    (a) Nkosinathi argues that, and I quote;

    “social networking[ …] has also caused deterioration in the ability of young people to effectively communicate with potential employers for entry level positions”

    This argument is scientifically incorrect. Research has shown that social networking improves young people’s communication skills. It also develops communication skills to those who lack this skill (see Final Report to the Knight Foundation, by Zaslow et al (2000)).

    (b) Nkosinathi argues that, and I quote;

    “Children no longer play together; they network.”

    This argument is logically incorrect. It is common sense (even though common sense is not always common) that when children play together they are, at the very same time, network. I define networking in this particular case as ‘social interaction’. It then follows that when children play together they are socially interacting, and thus networking. Therefore, Nkosinathi train of though is problematic.

    (c) I deliberately leave out the third problem for Nkosinathi or my fellow bloggers on cyberspace to locate. I am promoting what the Former President, Mr Thabo Mbeki once termed as “peer review mechanism”. In my language we say: andifuni kuyitya ndwedwa yonke, I must, as a result, leave some portions for other people. My choice of doing this is against the spirit of Capitalism, which promotes individualism. It is, nonetheless, in line with the spirit of Communism, which promote s the act of sharing.

    Thank you Dumi for such an insightful topic.

    Vuyo Ntlangu
    Founder and CEO at Civil Alliance for Policy & Political Affairs BA (Public Policy Studies) LLB, UCT

    • Dumi-rocks

      October 9, 2011 at 11:15 am

      For all practical reasons, blogs are used for myriad of purposes that ranges from academic research to sheer pleasure. I have been schooled that when one writes an essay for academic community, he needs to explain and scrutinise key terms as a point of departure to a particular piece. Unlike many established academic authors, I write for a wide community of individuals. I like to believe that my audience (if that is an acceptable term for blog readers) ranges from yourself, Students to lay man in the street who when searching for something on the web landed on my blog.

      I strongly believe that if I start my blog post with an abstract, most of my readers will not get to the end of the article. However, I acknowledge the fact that in order to not dwell into debates that lack substance in every form; one will need to briefly explain key terms, of which according to you I have failed to do.

      On a second thought though, blogs are not academic journals that need to explain every technical term used. What do you think?

      I find it rather odd to explain “social and moral decay” in a sociological and philosophical sense of the word. My deliberate attempt to explain the term in question in this context may turn out sour and misinformed, for remember I am not a student of Philosophy, but that of Commerce. To protect my integrity as a budding writer, I opt not to explain these terms in a manner that you require. How about you explain them for me? How about you give me brief introductory to Philosophy and Critical thinking?

      For purposes of this blogpost, what I meant about the term “social and moral decay” is this: “the decline of acceptable behaviour in society in the context of ubuntu and human dignity”. Perhaps let me give you something to reflect on. What do you say about people who post nude or near-naked pictures of themselves on social networks? What do you say about people who post pictures and comments that incite racial violence? What do you say about the so called socialites who post comments that seek to showcase their opulence lifestyle?

      Furthermore, I completely agree with you when you say that definitions set “parameters”, “so that we know upfront what is it we agree on and what is it we do not agree on”. You see Vuyo, commentators like you are very relevant and useful for their arguments stimulates one intellectually, however, let me say that I find it extremely difficult to search for courts judgement and its interpretation –especially when you do so- in a quest to understand the implication attached to not defining or understanding certain terms. Nonetheless, rest very assured that the task you have mandated me to do, is the task I am happy to carry out for I know it will add value to my faculty of reasoning.

      I find nothing wrong with what Nkosinathi has said in his comment. I believe, even though his comment was not substantiated by Science journals and other credible sources, his argument is valid on so many grounds. You do not need rocket science to see that it is social networks that contributes to children not playing together anymore. Haven’t you seen that children no longer play indigenous games as it was the case before the birth of social networks?

      In this argument, it is logic and observation that tells me that many people because of high usage of some social networking sites, many lack what is termed “effective writing language”. Haven’t you seen when people send you short messages just writing “lol”unnecessarily? How many misspellings have you seen in your turtling’s academic essays? Can we then rely on some science research paper that claim that “social networks improves young people’s communications skills”when there is a damning concrete evidence that it does not. Maybe it is Students of Statistics and Research Methods that will remind us that research methods does have its own limitations.

      Vuyo, you see, sometimes –to a lesser extent of course – my train of thought is informed by logic!

      I really like the fact that you follow the teachings of Former South Africa President, Mr Thabo Mbeki, and of which I think every youth must do. Remember, when the Former President visited The University of Stellenbosch, in his speech he tasked the youth to challenge what is conveyed to them as “Established Truth”, which is what you did by posting such an insightful and incisive comment that is further substantiated by two papers of high quality (that of Justice Sack and that of Zaslow et al.)

      As a point of emphasis, I really like commentators like you who poses rather challenging questions by any stretch of imagination.

      Thank you once again Vuyo for what is clearly an intellectually stimulating argument!

      Your thoughts are indeed poignant.

  3. lcj kredyt

    October 8, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Hi. I agree with you – 100% +. Thank you for the information. Lukas.

  4. Nkosinathi

    October 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Thank you for the insight that you just brought into the table…my comment was based on what I wrote on my blog long time ago and Dumi brought it up. however, I have no respond for your critique of my comments because Dumi has said all in a simple manner. I highly agree with you that definitions are “parameters” but as Dumi said, Blogs are different to academic writings and the purpose is to “write for a wide community of individuals” as Dumi stated.

    I also have to say that, I really admire your writing skills and appreciate the time you took to respond, you have taken this topic to the next level hence; great job.

    I still find nothing wrong to what I said, for instance…my younger brother spend most of his day after school on mxit chatting with strangers who are 1000 miles away from him. he no longer play soccer in the dusty fields like we use to do. I am not saying he should be soccer player but I am emphasizing the fact that most of his time are spent indoors. You can`t even tell him anything about computer games including facebook. he recently wrote an essay for academic purposes and he was using the mxit language mostly because I got the time to look at his essay.

    Thanks for listening to Mbeki..he is a great leader and one of my favorable speaker. lastly if you want to find out how and where I based my opinion on…please visit

    Thanks again Vuyo and Dumi.

  5. Nkosinathi

    October 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I did n`t want to say anything about “spirit of Capitalism” because that is another dimension which is correlates and bring many topics hence; diverging for the main topic. I somehow think it is more that the capitalism.

    In broader aspect, it is globalization system which leads to “social and moral decay” and again we can define globalization in many ways but I will use definition that was provided by scholar such as Steger (2003) who see Globalization as the multiplication, expansion, and intensification of global social interconnections. Those connections has somehow caused problems in the way due to other activities being alienated. yes they do Network but in which manner? I mean…how many friends does people have on facebook that they don`t even know yet they spend most of their time interacting with? how many parents are complaining of their children who are always bowing their heads and chat even if their parents are talking to them? how many people lost their life`s while they were busy talking with someone in their cellphones while they were driving. Some family members don`t even visit each other anymore but they just email or use other forms of communication.

    I am not against the expansion of communication but I am arguing the fact that, it has somehow isolated people from each other. nowadays people sit next to each other in taxi`s, buses, even in planes without evening greeting each other. They will just sit there, put on their earphone or log in to their facebook,twitter,mxit, 2go, BBM the list goes on. what good does that do to Society? what about those who don`t have those things? should they isolated from the society way of communication. Globalization has somehow created this “social and moral decay”.

  6. Vuyo

    October 14, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I have had a pleasure of reading, with concentration, my fellow bloggers reflections on my response to the remarkable topic that was raised earlier this month by Dumi. In the present case, it is, in my opinion, clear on the facts that commentators like Nkosinathi, knew, or at least ought to have known, of the importance of the subject in issue.

    Gentlemen, I ‘should’ have thought, consistently with common sense, that the question we had to, and still have to decide permitted of an answer in the affirmative. However, I did not. It seems to me that Nkosinathi foresaw this coming (that the question permitted of an answer solely in the affirmative) and hence he deliberately chose to respond in the affirmative.

    Accordingly, I must say that your reflections, Dumi and Nkosinathi, are of great value to me. I must confess, also, that after reading your reflections, I could but not discover any further arguments (in my favour) to contribute with in this body of knowledge. As a result, I want to believe that my intellectual resources – like our economic resources in South Africa today – are now exhausted.
    Notwithstanding everything else, it is my sincere belief that I, myself, must have been misunderstood when I placed a great deal of emphasise on the importance of defining key terms. I said that key terms help in setting out parameters of the debate.

    In response to this statement, the following critiques were directed at me by Dumi:

    (a) “I write for a wide community of individuals […] from yourself, Students to lay man in the street”.
    (b) “I strongly believe that if I start my blog post with an abstract, most of my readers will not get to the end of the article”

    Nkosinathi, with approval, reiterated Dumi’s critiques and thus continued;
    a) “Blogs are different to academic writings and the purpose is to write for a wide community of individuals”

    It is exactly to these replies that I now turn.

    Starting with Dumi’s:

    (a) It seems to me that when one is writing for a wide community of people one needs to, and at all material times, define what he means by his key words. Dumi’s reception consists of different people, for example; professionals (like me), other students, and lay man in the street. There can be no doubt in my mind that these people are not on the same level of understanding (i.e. intellectual level) – yet they all form part of Dumi’s reception. As a matter of strict logic, it then follows that a single word could mean one thing to a profession and yet completely another to a lay man in the street.

    The question now becomes: how do we ensure that all of Dumi’s reception, even though they not on the same level, gets to receive the conveyed message exactly in the same way? It is undeniable that the only strategy we can employ, in an attempt to ensure that we get rid of this challenge, is to define what we mean by our key terms – so that all of them may commonly understand what we mean by our key words.

    Hence I stressed the importance defining key words. This is a very important exercise, especially now that you cater for a wide variety of audience Dumi.
    Therefore, the argument that one cannot define because one is writing for a wide community of individuals must fail.
    (b) Secondly, answering to your second criticism, I must clarify that nowhere in my earlier response I suggested that one should start his blog post with an abstract. It would be improper for me to make such a suggestion. Therefore, I must have been misunderstood in this regard.


    (a) I agree with Nkosinathi when he argues that blogs are different to academic writings. I also agree with him when he maintains that the purpose of blog articles is to write for a wide community of individuals.

    However, even though blogs are different to academic writings, as he exclaims, this does not mean that one ought to refrain from defining key words – especially where defining carries more benefits than not defining at all. I propose that if a ‘balancing test’ was to be carried out. The scale would, without a doubt, lean towards the defining side and NOT towards the other side.

    In this regard, I am of the view that where definitions would play an important role – like in this case of your article Dumi, whereby your reception consists of different people, ranging from professionals to ay people – they should always be provided. The writer has a positive duty to provide appropriate definitions. And in Dumi’s article, definitions were more than appropriate.

    Where there is a doubt or a dispute as to whether or not definitions would play an important role, I strongly argue that a judge ought to give preference to defining.

    Therefore, I submit that in this particular case, definition ought to have been provided for reasons given above.

    • Dumi-rocks

      October 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm

      Yet another incisive comments. Thank you Vuyo.

      Let me say I heartily endorse you comments. Not only is your criticism constructive, but also informational in every form. I was never aware that the lack of defining key terms can lead to such a big debate which is educational in every sense.

      Sometimes – if not always – one willl need to stand up, hold his balls and admit that “yes, you are right one indeed need to explain key definitive terms”. Here is to me making an assertion that from henceforth I will try to define key terms in my post. I have learnt!

      I commend you guys for such interesting comments that this blog post have attracted. the thing I Like about blogs is that – unlike The Constitution of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996 – Freedom of Speech indeed exist, and nothing is being censored in the name of The secrecy bill, and in so doing new information is being disseminated.

      Having said that, even though your comments do not explicityly state that one needs to write an abstract, it does suggest so. Thus, I say some of the argument you advanced hereto has little to do with the subject matter. But all-in-all, there is no more reason to argue on defining key terms for Dumisani has made a mistake and has since taken the responsibility to rectify this.


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