Alright, so it’s no surprise that we’re living in an age of rapid digital advancement, but to go so far as to say that technology is negatively affecting our real-world relationships is a bit of a stretch.
For starters, technology can take on different forms depending on your time period. For people living in the 1800’s it was railroads, for my parents in 1969 it was space travel, but now it’s smartphones. Every generation adapts to the technology of their time, while later looking at the younger generation with that classic “kids these days…” face. It’s inevitable and actually encouraged in order for us to survive to constantly be creating new forms of technology to make our live easier and better. So if connecting through online means is inevitable for us, why are we so against it? Why not utilize that technology and appreciate what it can do for us in our daily lives. Take this image below for example, it’s been circulated around before with a caption to the effect of “Look at all these antisocial people”. Funny right? It’s true though, why aren’t they interacting with each other on the bus? Why not ask your neighbor how their day is going? Because we’re naturally anti-social people. I don’t strike up a conversation with some random guy on the bus because i’m on my phone, it’s because i don’t want to strike up a conversation with some random guy on the bus.
Technology has brought us closer together, more so than ever before. The chances of me connecting with someone in my area who shares similar comedy styles, eating habits, t.v. shows, or clothing preferences is pretty slim. If, however, I express my personality online, I’m more likely to find someone who shares a lot of those interests because i’m appealing to the volume of the internet. Now i’m not saying I’m going to become best friends with that person or start some kind of relationship, but every one is looking for connections and if I’m able to balance my digital life and real life, who’s any one to judge?
Disclaimer: I met the love of my life online, but she turned out to be a Orca, and not real, and I was dreaming
The point is, we’re as social as we want to be, technology doesn’t hinder our ability to connect with others. If you were to see a group of people sitting on a bench, all on their phones, you’d think it was a little anti-social. What you may not know is that they could be FaceTiming a family member or partner, or maybe they’re watching a YouTube video on how to make “Chile en nogada“.
Smartphones and computers are a tool of communication, not isolation. While yes, there are those out there who are controlled by their devices, they represent a small part of our digital zeitgeist. For most of us, our use of social networking has expanded our network to make us more diverse, more aware of what’s happening in parts of the world to which we previously didn’t have access. A Pew Research study found that:
…Americans are not as isolated as has been previously reported. People’s use of the mobile phone and the internet is associated with larger and more diverse discussion networks. And, when we examine people’s full personal network – their strong and weak ties – internet use in general and use of social networking services such as Facebook in particular are associated with more diverse social networks.
That diverse network has combined with another important change in our culture and that’s how internet and smartphones have become necessary tools in our lives. We’ve reached the point where internet access has become a necessity and should be a utility at this point. While a person can exist without a smartphone, they won’t be able to do very well in the world today if they’re not connected. Both in business and in your personal life, access to the internet at your fingertips is vital.
So don’t say that new technology is moving us further apart because it’s actually doing the opposite.