Technology has become such a big part of everyone’s lives in the twenty-first century. Every morning I wake up and the first thing that I do is check my email. Who knows what kind of information could be on there? Classes could be cancelled, campus announcements, coupons. There is always that feeling of anticipation when you open an app to see what the first thing will be, and it’s the same feeling when you listen to music and the song ends and you wonder what song will come on next. Technology is a great thing. It can keep people connected throughout the world.
With unlimited internet access, it is very easy to get lost on the web. Scrolling down and down and down in apps and on websites to find more information and news is the modern way of keeping up with the world. Newspapers may soon become a thing of the past because they are not instantaneously available. Posts from old friends on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and pictures on Snapchat become so captivating. Cell phones and computers are notorious for being time stealers. Even now, I am using my computer to write this.
There are so many other articles and videos discussing how the internet and devices have influenced and or hindered relationships. Follow this link for TedTalks for videos that deal with technology and communication or relationships.
I will admit, I am a typical teenager always having my phone on me. And if I am in an uncomfortable situation, that it what I turn to, for sure. Having my phone out, even if I am not actually looking at anything but my home screen, has helped me get through to super awkward waiting periods before class or while waiting for someone at lunch or whatever. How sad is it that I am unwilling to put down the phone and have an actual conversation with the person next to me? How hard is it to say, “Hi, how are you? How is your day?” It should not be that hard.
There is a commercial where the couple featured is having dinner in their apartment, but they aren’t speaking to each other! They are on their phones! Meal times are when communication should be very strong. That is like the most ideal time to talk to the person across from you and share stories about your day or even life. People need a gentle reminder of just how precious those times are.
Fun fact: According to Stastista.com, Americans spend 11 or more hours a day using technology (Richter). That’s a lot of time. People are attached to their devices and that’s okay! It’s perfectly fine. I know that I am one of those people too. Technological devices have become somewhat of a security blanket for a lot of people, me included. A photographer once took pictures of people and then edited out all the cell phone to show how absorbed people can be in their phones. We (those who have that blanket) should take a step back and reevaluate the important thing in our lives. For example, my family is the most important thing to me. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have them. I am so grateful to have those relationships with my family (this includes friends btw because they are family too)! I cannot imagine life without those personal relationships.
Social interactions are becoming more and more non-verbal. Texting is easier than calling. Emailing is easier than walking down the hall to ask a favor. First impressions are based off of a profile picture. True, meaningful relationships should not through screens. Granted, technology has allowed people to connect with one another across the globe, but society should not have to rely on a text from downstairs to say that ‘dinner is ready’. Relationships begin online now, not standing in line at a coffee shop. Relationships are becoming more technologically based rather than actual human interaction based. I think that is really sad.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that I can type a quick text to my family 400 miles away, but it just isn’t the same as hearing their voice or seeing their faces or feeling their embraces. Technology is incredible in how connections can be made all over the world. Keeping up with people is much easier than ever, but I feel like there is something missing. You can be ‘friends’ with someone, but is there actually a friendship? Weird to think about huh…
The thing that I am trying to say is that relationships should grow verbally. Talking to people is the healthiest and best, in my opinion, therapy and relationship builder. Technology did not build those relationships, verbal communication did. What happened to verbal communication? There is something about the sound of a person’s voice that technology cannot quite grasp yet.
Richter, Felix. “Infographic: Americans Use Electronic Media 11+ Hours A Day.” Statista Infographics. N.p., 13 Mar. 2015. Web. 17 Nov. 2015. <http://www.statista.com/chart/1971/electronic-media-use/>.