[Content Note: Disablism.]
"It seems like hardly a week passes without some pearl-clutching thinkpiece bemoaning how social media is destroying meaningful human interaction. People are looking at their screens instead of making eye contact. We aren't using our mouths to talk to each other. Instead of telling each other how we feel in detail, we click the 'like' button to express approval. We sit next to each other in cafes and don't look up. This phenomenon has been described as the end of intimacy. However, it's the exact opposite. As an Autistic person, I've never felt more understood or free."—Sara Luterman, in a great piece: "Screen Backlash Is a Disability Issue."
I don't doubt that, for some people, technology undermines intimacy. But those people aren't everyone. For other people, technology enhances intimacy. And for lots of us, it totally depends on the situation. Technology can inhibit intimacy in one context, and facilitate it in another.
"The thing is," writes Luterman, "when [people who oppose the use of screens] look at a café and see people using their phones, there is no way to distinguish between the people who use phones as disability aids and people who just happen to find speaking through social media a perfectly adequate or even preferable mode of communication."
There's no way to tell what someone is using hir phone to do, or why.