Technological innovations, mobile and internet connectivity have augmented the number of communication tools and developed social connections. The introduction of social media platform by AT&T in 1981 using the slogan Reach out and touch someone to currently Twitters Whats happening were meant to add value to our quality life. The improvement of these services creates opportunities in the social world, creating new channels for people to share. Although the number of social tools on the internet augments and mobile electronics offers new ways to stay in touch, it is so uncommon to argue that the explosion of technology is bridging the gaps between us but making us lonelier (Erupting Mind, 2016). This is because it reduces face-to-face communication.
The number of participants or friends on social media does not guarantee lack of loneliness. Although some argue that having many friends and contacts on social network platforms means a greater sense of connectedness, it increases loneliness and reduces personal touch. It is becoming so common to experience the downside of electronics social circles such as party or lunch where some guests keep staring into their digital devices and sending texts to others (TED, 2011). The devices put them off from one-on-one conversation, which is the goal of parties and luncheon. In this perspective, the connectedness of face-to-face conversations may be lost to the digital connectedness.
Computers, mobile phones and all kind of technological devices play an integral part in our lives today, with both negative and positive effects. A study conducted by Hilyer College involving convincing students to surrender their cell phones for five days in order to earn extra credits shown personal connected to cell phones. Those that agreed to give up their cell phones stated afterwards that they started to notice things and people around them more than they had without checking text regularly. As the study opines, technology limit the effort toward creating a meaningful relationships among us (TED, 2011).
Technology has positive effects on maintaining communication among us, but it can limit physical activities, reduce face to face interaction and lead to dependency on those devices. Addiction counselors are constantly dealing with internet overuse otherwise known as internet addiction disorder, which is overuse of technology thereby disturbing the normal daily life. Young people are sexting and do not realize that their privacy has been threatened (Erupting mind, 2016). Irrespective of whether computer use is for shopping, blogging, or social networking, pornography problem may result. Such acts widen the distance between people as people attempt to get satisfaction online.
Technological devices help us to connect to anyone across the globe whenever we want. However, a movie Disconnect released in 2015 challenges this notion of whether we are actually more connected to each other or more alone. It is obvious that human interaction dips the more technology augments. The movie indicate how easy it is to allow technological devices bait us into a make believe life, since we are slowly repelling from a sense of who we are and what truly matters. The arguments stem from the fact that, currently, it is more important to answer instantly and not spend some time with family and friends.
Technological devices offer a more competitive way to communicate, thus minimizing physical interactions. It is easy to be seduced by technology since it eases everything. For instance, why go to concert or opening of a new art gallery to meet new people while you only need to create an account on Match.com and socialize with more than a thousand people with the click of a figure? What is the essence of signing up into a club or organizations to make real friendship while you only need to take one hour on social media website? It means that with technology, people tend to reduce their physical connection. Physical interaction is always the best approach to make friends and maintain friendships (TED, 2011).
The presence of mobile phone in social setting impedes with human relationship. Technology has negative effects on connection, closeness and conversation quality. This aspect is specifically true when people are engaging in personally meaningful issues. In a naturalistic field, conversations in the absence of technology (mobile phone or computers) are significantly superior to those in the presence of technological devices. To this end, a higher empathetic concern can be seen in conversations in the absence of technological devices as compared to when conversing in presence of such devices (Erupting mind, 2016). When individuals are conversing using technological devices such as cell phone, it is very hard to determine the true feeling or actual expression of concern from other individuals thus encouraging hypocrisy.
Pervasive use of technology in communication, education and entertainment reduces face-to-face interaction among youths. Studies suggest that reduced amount of time youth spend physically interacting may have harmful effects on their presentation of self and development of social skills. The question that arises from this analogy is what if all of a sudden technology fails? Without proper personal representation and social skills, those youths will obviously be alone.
Being connected does not mean that one is not alone. In fact, modern devices help us to keep in touch with other people but remain separated. Technology fails to comprehensively meet the objectives that it is obliged to achieve. Not all individuals need might be solved through cell phone or social network and therefore there is need for physical interaction. Unfortunately, technological devices effortlessly widen the loneliness gap by reducing the time individuals use to converse physically (TED, 2011). It means that in some situations, one might feel lonely even though he/she has thousand contacts or friends on social networks.
Conversing using technology has the potential of disregarding human element of how relationships are really built. Non-verbal information that usually informs of emotions, intentions and values of the speakers is absent without face-to-face contact (Erupting mind, 2016). Without this, individuals are left to fill the gaps of what people actually mean instead of what is projected on the message. Social media, mobile phones, emails and text are vital methods of relying information. More so, people need to interact with other people one-on-one so that they can truly connect. Otherwise they can be left lonely without other people who truly understanding them. It means that no matter how many friends or contact we may have in our social networks, those friends remain a technological bubble that ensure we remain separated from real human interaction and real human contact.
In all manners, technology fails to achieve the noble objective of increasing human connection. It provides an easy way of evading real contact and interaction. It hinders people from obtaining non-verbal information such as intent, emotion and values of a speaker. It means technology has the potential of leaving individuals feeling disconnected and lonely.
Erupting mind,. (2016). Does Technology Make You Lonely?. Eruptingmind.com. Retrieved 25 May 2016, from http://www.eruptingmind.com/does-technology-make-you-lonely/
TED, (2011). We are all cyborgs now. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/amber_case_we_are_all_cyborgs_now/transcript?language=en
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