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Technology influences everything. More importantly, technology influences personal relationships and has impacted the way we interact with those closest to us. We talk less and transcribe more. Technology has redefined how we communicate our desires and trust one another and is changing the very fabric of our societies, revealing how little we know about the people we think we know, and how little we even know ourselves.
Technology has allowed our world to become more interconnected, but it has come with a cost. we can communicate kind thoughts at two in the morning and not wake up our friends. Back in the early years of the internet, some prophets felt that the internet would create a global village, transcending the boundaries of time and space. Several psychologists have claimed to treat people with “internet addiction.” For example, in 1999, David Greenfield adapted a diagnostic tool from a gambling addiction questionnaire, substituting “internet” for gambling. This approach ignores the positive benefits of being involved with the internet: Compare a statement such as “I am gambling too much” with one such as “I am communicating on the internet too much.”
How many times do you think you pick up your phone daily? According to welldoing.org on how technology affects our relationships, “studies have estimated we pick up our smartphones over 85 times a day and can be online around 25 hours per week.” Just to put that into perspective, that is around 100 hours per month, more than two weeks’ worth of work. They explain that technology, phones especially, have become an extension of us and have revolutionized many traditional activities, but having the downside of less social interaction or engagement with those around us.
Texts, emails and social media have become the preferred method of communication between family, friends and significant others. It is convenient, fast, and allows for each person to control the duration of he conversation or interaction. While it is a great way to share important life evens with your followers, it is also with less of a true interpersonal connection that conversations provide.
There are questions we can ask ourselves when thinking about the impact of technology on our relationships. For example, we can ask ourselves whether relationships continue to flourish in the internet age and is there both quantity and quality. Or are the internet splitting people into two separate worlds of online and offline? Do people’s relationships provide usable help both online and offline?
Do technologies help you build positive, meaningful relationships, or do technologies hinder this process? Are you better able to communicate, listen, and share because of the technologies in your life? Do you use technologies to improve your relationships and build new ones? Are you letting a few choice people know who you are and what you contribute to this world, or are you merely distracting yourself with shallow pursuits? Does technology increase or decrease your concern for others, your compassion for others, and your desire to serve them? Such are the critical questions regarding technology and social and personal relationships.
While technology has enhanced customer service and business-related relationships, in can often be a road blocker and hinder our personal lives. There are ways technology threatens to strip away important aspects of ow people relate and connect on a personal level, especially in our most intimate relationships. According to debate.org, technology is ruining human relationships with 66% saying yes and 34% saying No. One user states, “Yes it has Relationships are suffering; we have computers/phones taking the place of human interaction, Physical interaction. I believe it is destroying relationships. Also, Take the “tech” in the space field; there are people literally starving in the world, yet we spend billions, eventually trillions on going into space. . . What are we looking for that we don’t have here on earth? I believe it will destroy our humanity before any “hidden planet” or asteroid hits us!”
According to Bryan Kramer, technology has resulted in a sense of disconnection and the long-term impact of technology on personal interactions. Some points he coves regarding technology lacking the personal connection include that conversations lack context, online contact falls short on empathy, technology fails to deliver essential personal touch, online contact accelerates relationships and tech overload leads to cocooning.
We all can relate to this. Some prefer texting of calling, with the convenience of being able to not respond, then come up with an excuse of “why” later. Less interaction in a social and physical level is usually preferred by many in these times, resulting in the disconnection in personal relationships. Some people have become isolated, substituting electronic relationships for physical ones or mistaking them for physical ones. We may feel we are connecting effectively with others via the great Internet, but too much electronic-relating engenders a sense of social isolation.
While there is plenty of negative ways technology is said to hurt our personal relationships, WebMD goes through the Pros and Cons of it. “Boomers and Gen-Xers may look at young people staring at their devices and think they’re being antisocial, but who is to say we’re right and they’re wrong? They’re just socializing differently,” says Robert Weiss, a counselor in Los Angeles and co-author of Closer Together, Further Apart: The Effect of Technology and the Internet on Parenting, Work, and Relationships.
Weiss says that while new realities such as Facebook and FaceTime are changing the way people interact, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “Technology can be a problem when it lets you avoid taking responsibility for your actions — such as ‘ghosting’ someone instead of breaking up with them in person — but it also gives us many different ways to build and maintain relationships, join communities, and express what we need from each other.” Some of the pros surrounding technology and relationships are that it leads to more offline interaction, those relationships through technology are closer, technology helps relationships last over time and distance, it makes us aware of our group’s diversity, it creates communities, and teen spirit.
So, while negativity certainly surrounds most of the conversations when talking about technology and personal relationships, there is some light that shines through showing potential benefits of it. Having positive or negative effects on our personal relationships also can be the result of the course of our own doing. How we allow ourselves to interact with those around us and our loved ones, and the impact we allow it to have the future of our relationships are determined by us. Instead of tagging friends or family in a funny post, try asking how someone is doing, or picking up the phone to engage in voice to voice conversation with a lost connection. It will help you build relationships that truly last, which is a true rarity these days.
The Internet is an amazing tool and has shrunk the world and brought us closer, but it has also threatened to push us further apart. The impact of technology on human interaction paints a pretty gloomy picture. This topic is a deep one with complex issues. The most valuable thing to take away here and discussion to have creating and maintaining a balance of our offline and online communication with others to ensure a good relationship between technology and personal relationships.