It cannot be denied that technology has had an impact upon the amount of physical interaction within human relationships on both social and professional levels. Due to the rapid increase in popularity of various technological devices, USAToday called 2010 the year we “stopped talking to one another.” Though slightly humorous, this does pose the question: is the relational change necessarily a bad thing?
If it truly is replacing the interaction between individuals, is it not, by default, simply doing what we made it to do? Instead of the negative outlook, perhaps it could be considered that the American infatuation with technology is actually a sign of success due to the fact that technology has always evolved for the purpose of advancing human life and making daily living more filled with ease and enjoyment. In that regard, technology is certainly carrying its own weight.
It is continually argued that the focus upon devices versus personal interaction is creating some level of separation. Clearly the difference in the amount of face time amongst individuals has greatly decreased, however, our ability to network with one another, cooperate on projects, and initiate varying trends has expanded to the nth degree. It becomes, then, the choice, of the individual to whether or not the price one pays is worth the advantages gained; emphasis upon the personal choice.
Conflict only comes in when ideals and opinions are presented in ways that propose that anyone who has a commitment to, say, their social media account, is somehow being a detriment to society. Just as choosing to engulf oneself in the benefits and opportunities technology has to offer is a matter of individual preference, the decision to refrain from such is also a private matter. However, attacks toward the latter are rarely seen. It is not very often seen that someone is admonished for choosing to stay off the Internet bandwagon and not concede their personal lives to the pages of Facebook and Twitter. Those of the former should be allowed to have that same freedom of choice without facing criticism or judgement.
The question of whether or not technology is actually replacing humanity and separating social and professional relationships is another common complaint. This statement has been greatly debunked by the emergence of websites which promote ideas such as crowdfunding and the license-free sharing of art and intellectual property. In these regards as well as by overcoming geographical restraints, technology has actually brought us closer together.
Why, an individual could ask, are there so many naysayers toward the cultural shift into a more technologically based existence? Primarily because as human beings we tend to fear change. Additionally, there is a bit of a learning curve involved in becoming technologically savvy, one of which those over a certain age may be wary about trying to overcome. This age distinction is evident by the fact that, to some young children, the use of technology comes even easier than learning to walk. For them, it is a way of life before most of their life has even begun. Therefore with time, despite its impact upon social and professional relationships, technology will continue to evolve and be prevalent in our lives and will grow more in its ability to serve the purpose of relieving strife, struggle, and hardship.
Opinion by Bridgette Bryant
Photo by SymoO – Flickr License