In today’s society, technology has enhanced our interactions to a more efficient level. But it has created a sense of urgency when things aren’t as quick as we want them to be, and our psyches have become used to that ‘immediate gratification’ mentality.
Everything is available at our fingertips, and it’s all just a click or a finger swipe away. This has increased our effectiveness, our adaptability, and our ability to communicate thanks to new connections and networks that would be impossible without the internet or media devices. The question here is: How much does technology help humans, and how much could it potentially hurt us?
Technology Becoming Too Essential
Over 77% of Americans utilize technology on a daily basis. Nearly 94% of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 use the internet. The data suggests that technology is not only popular amongst younger generations, but it’s mandatory. Most bloggers on the Web are aged 21-34, most users of Facebook are under the age of 21, and the most commonly used form of communication by teens is instant messaging and texting, nearly making phone calls and emailing obsolete.
The number of ways we can be contacted instantly aids in the immediate retrieval of information at a more constant rate. However, outside our screens and social networking, the effort for real, face-to-face interaction with other humans becomes much harder.
Face-to-Face Interaction Is Becoming Scarce
In any given situation, if you were to contact someone, your first instinct would not be to jump in a car and visit them, nor would it be to write them a letter and mail it. And rarely, unless the news was really stunning (or perhaps extremely urgent), would you even call them first.
Back in the day, a letter that was sent two weeks beforehand was what was considered a normal use of communication. But today, letter writing is nearly obsolete. Why write a letter when you can text the person within seconds or write them an email within minutes? Most young adults’ first instinct would be to type a Facebook message or text the person. In our modern society, this has become a social norm.
Destroying Basic Courtesies
Technology has made it easier to keep in contact with people, but it’s also nearly destroyed basic relationship courtesies that were once accepted and expected to be kept.
In fact, the digital age has almost made us too social. We’re constantly updating, searching, reading, responding, linking, sharing, connecting, and texting; it’s basically made us technology zombies. Outside our screens of social networking, the effort for real conversation and real interaction with other humans face-to-face is becoming scarce, even for people who claim they aren’t technology savvy.
So How Do We Know How Much Is Too Much?
The fact that technology is common presents an issue: how far is too far? Digital communication minimizes distance at a macro level, making it easier for people across the country to connect and share, but it creates space on a micro level. It may make it easier for people to simply just connect over the internet but it eliminates the need for a voiced, face-to-face conversation. It’s faster to connect with people instantaneously over the internet, but sometimes we need to disconnect in order to reconnect with ourselves and others.
Technology should continue to be a bridge to better our connections, but not a “final destination” for social interaction. When we become overly dependent on technology, it can be detrimental to individual relationships.
Not to mention the potential health effects of cell phones and too much internet and technology usage. You can read this article on the connection between cell phones and different types of tumours to learn more. We are constantly being bombarded by EMFs, and it’s crucial that we take measures to mitigate the amount we’re exposed to.
Conclusion: Keep It In Balance
Without a doubt, technology has in fact helped us in many ways. We’re a more advanced and connected society thanks to all the digital gadgets most, if not all of us, now possess. But what do we do to keep our daily lives at a more “real” level, rather than virtual? Living totally without technology, at least in the Western world, is not an option. But making efforts to keep our lives on a face-to-face, voice-to-voice level will prove to be beneficial.
Yes, it’s good to keep in contact with family and friends. Yes, it’s great that we use computers and technology to enhance our work output. Yes, technology has helped us. But if we don’t make the effort to keep everything in balance, by either limiting our virtual interactions or monitoring the time/exertion we put into it, technology could very well destroy the positive elements we share as a society and keep us malnourished from the real interactions we need with our fellow humans in order to thrive.
If we can keep in mind that the ultimate goal of technology is to help us achieve efficiency without replacing human interaction, we will be better off.