By: Daniella Aryeh, IATG Contributor February 24, 2016
Technology has significantly changed the way our society connects with one another, does business, and socializes. Most of today’s generation have never known a world without the Internet.
I recently read an article that stated that in today’s workplace, young people who have grown up with technology often enter their workplace wearing headphones. Walking through a college library or a campus of a high tech start up, you see the same thing. It’s as if people are saying, “we are physically together, but each of us are in our own bubble, furiously connected to keyboards and tiny touch screens.” The article quotes a head attorney from a law firm in Boston who stated that when the young associates come in, they take out laptops, smart phones, iPods, and put on headphones. “With young people in their cockpits, the office is quiet, a quiet that does not ask to be broken.”
Don’t get me wrong, technology is a wonderful thing. It helps us connect to others far away from us, helps us get to places we may not know how to get to, helps us in school and work, helps us advance in the medical world, and so much more. It blows my mind how much society has advanced with the use of technology.
However, technology has its downside as well. It often makes us forget about how important it is to have face to face interactions with the people.
It’s not possible to connect fully with one another if we continue to use technology to keep one another at a distance.
Texting, emailing, and posting to Facebook and Instagram allow us to present ourselves in a way we want to be seen. We can edit and delete something if we so desire. We are tempted to think that our little “sips” of online connection add up to a big gulp of conversation, but they don’t. While Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have their place, we have to be able to have real, valuable, face-to-face conversations. Technology cannot substitute real relationships.
I was in a restaurant the other day with a friend, and when I looked around I saw families and friends sitting together, but all staring at their phones. They were texting other people, taking pictures of their food, but not talking to each other. I thought “OK, they are going to post pictures of their UNTOUCHED food with a caption saying how delicious it is. But they haven’t even tried it yet! How crazy!” It seems that if we don’t take pictures and post it to social media, the event didn’t exist.
I am guilty of this as well, and I’m not saying don’t take pictures for the memories, and I’m not saying we should ban all technology. All I am saying is that it’s important to cultivate real relationships. Focus on the people in front of you and enjoy their company while you can. Use technology to reach out and keep up with others when you can, but don’t let it be the only way you connect with others.
Do we need to talk “tech diet” in our culture? How do you connect with people without technology? The next time you’re out with your friends, make it a cell-free zone. The first person to take out their phone has to buy everyone else a cup of tea or coffee at the next meet-up.
Daniella is completing her master’s degree in speech-language pathology. She loves traveling, meeting new people, hanging on the beach, and reading anything she can get her hands on. She is obsessed with country music and constantly quoting Friends and One Tree Hill.
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