Technology Affects Relationships
If you are sitting with a friend and reading this on your phone, please stop reading and continue communicating with the live person in front of you. Recently I had a conversation with a friend about how laptops, mobiles phones, tablets, and similar devices distract people from their life and how they are changing relationships. Technology affects relationships on so many levels! She explained to me how she is struggling to keep her family protected from this phenomenon. Her particular struggle was to keep the family sit-together meal alive and an ongoing ritual. Fortunately, she is succeeding to cherish this important everyday activity, for now. I myself have also been irritated for a while by this device takeover.
Everywhere I look there are people not talking to each other, but sitting together, staring at all these screens, hypnotized. I gave this issue a bit of thought and here are 10 ways in which technology overuse is disrupting our relationships, as well as 10 benefits moderate usage of technology brings in relationships aspect. The key, I believe, is in moderation, but take a look and test yourself for the level of your commitment to your. Here we go.
10 Ways in Which Technology Spoils Our Relationships:
Attention span (focus please)
You’re out with your friend and every time you start talking there is something beeping on his/her phone. Your friend diverts the attention to the phone, possible apologizing. You don’t know whether to continue or not, feeling a bit like a fool. The topic is lost. You move on to next one, the situation repeats, the quality of this hang out drops severely. Familiar?
It became so easy not to invest yourself in the relationships, not to put in the real work. Few clicks, comments, the friendship is alive but barely. You are at home, not putting an effort into real activities and conversations.
You’re allowing yourself to be lazy and that comes with a price – shallowness of connections.
It’s just not the same to communicate to someone looking at the green dot symbolizing they are online, as it is looking at live creature’s eyes. We don’t look at each other anymore and I’m sure this will come back to us in a bad way, since the ability to connect as it was given to us in a natural form is one of our greatest values.
Emoticons instead of emotions
Emoticons became part of language. It is almost rude to write to somebody now, without putting in an emoticon showing your good intentions. It really feels fake a lot of times and it’s also sad that these cartooned faces are there to replace real smiles, grimaces and emotions which are also a gift that we have.
No time for you my friend
We have 100, 500, 1000 friends on social networks, we have time just about to click and share all those new videos, photos and other stuff, but we can’t really make time to meet with many of our friends for real conversation. We feel like we’re in the zone, socializing big time, but in reality it’s all shallow and not much is to be expected from shallow connections.
Quantity before quality
Is it true, the more you click, the more you’re out there commenting and sharing with various people, the more connected you feel, maybe more loved? But what is it all about? When it comes to real things in life you want to have 5 sincere and strong connections, not 500 of likes.
We don’t do stuff together
We comment, plan, often cancel, but rarely really do stuff anymore. Technology made it so simple to share the idea, plan it and cancel it. Technology made us masters at pretending like we do a lot. Every moment is possibly photogenic, but the real moment is often not much of a deal. We’re a lot more passive in reality, keeping busy making things look good.
Head in the sand, staring down all the time
Walking, sitting, lying down, we’re always looking at that gadget. Our sight is locked down. How can we see the world, how can we not miss on life that way?
We don’t get to miss each other
Everyone knows each other’s business without much effort. You already know that your friend went on that exotic holiday, there’s nothing else to ask. No mysteries, everything is out on the plate. Yeah, that reminds me, you probably even know what they ate there.
Opinions instead of Google results
There are more and more conversations being stared by people checking their facts on Google. Everyone’s afraid they might be proven wrong. We don’t dare to make our own original statements anymore. I’m not sure we can even know if something is our original thought, since daily we stumble upon millions of pieces of information. We don’t give our brain a chance.
Another thing, it just looks stupid when bunch of people are not interacting to each other in a social situation like a night out, but instead type and surf on their phones.
Just the same it is both stupid and dangerous to walk around on the streets looking down on your device, not bothering about objects or people you might stumble upon, counting on others to mind your safety.
10 benefits of technology:
Stay connected with those far away
Sometime the technology affects relationships in good ways. We really feel closer to our friends and family who are far away. We can see them whenever we want and that makes it so much easier.
Making new contacts all the time
We’re networking and meeting with ease, based on common interests, common friends, it’s a good thing.
Stay informed about your friends lives
Well, we do like to be in touch. Some people just wouldn’t be good at that if they had to write letters or meet up each time to catch up. But with the help of technology, they maintain their friendships, which is better than losing them.
Brave to open up –when writing
Sometimes, technology makes us braver that we would actually be in the eye-to-eye conversations, and sometimes that’s a good thing. I’m sure some babies would be born if that guy didn’t spill out his feelings right to that girl’s inbox on one particularly romantic virtual date.
Quick to organize things
That’s why computers are here, to make us quicker and more efficient when it comes to operational things. If you want, you can use technology to actually be more social and do more stuff with your community (if it wasn’t of that laziness so often).
Informed for new conversation topics
No one needs to be speechless anymore. There’s always something new to talk about and you can become an expert in any subject.
Save time for important ones
Some contacts were never meant to be deep. This is where technology comes particularly handy. You can quickly catch up with an acquaintance and then go for a long walk with your close friend.
Never miss a birthday
So many awkward situations saved by that Facebook feature.
– By your community, friends in various situations, whether you’re sad, in trouble, vulnerable or just need a boost.
It’s easy to know who is like you or who you would like to talk to about something. You just don’t have to wonder who is into what. It’s all out there. So, if you’re into gaming for example, there are few people just few clicks away.
It’s just too much
So how do we make balance between using technology in our advantage and overusing it until the point we are more on our devices than in our reality. How do we prevent the scenario where the technology affects relationships in a negative way?I think it’s useful to remember that nothing can substitute our eyes and ears.
Motivate yourself to take a look at the world around you without gazing through various screens, without building reactions and emotions based on viral opinions.
I don’t want to pull out statistics from different agencies available online, sure you can look it up yourselves if interested; about how much time world population spends on devices. Each and every one of us knows what our personal situation with this is. We know if we got to the point where there is no sleep without checking social networks first, we know if we don’t see the street or the sky because we’re staring at a small piece of technology while walking. People know if their kids are missing on their games and physical activity due to this modern phenomenon. So because we know, we need to act on it, before we make ourselves and our families just shadows of what we could really be.
There is another threat, sometimes some relationships get overly intensive, overwhelming. This means you don’t need to know where another person is all the time; there is no need to over-communicate each and every step. Technology gives us that little pleasure of being able to communicate everything anytime, but it’s a trap and it just might put too much pressure on your loved ones and you.
About the Author
Sanja Ivandic is one of the Co-Founders of Outside Multicultural Magazine. Sanja relocated to Ireland from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Inspired by the Sligo Intercultural Project she managed for a while, as well as her work in various NGOs such as LEDA and World Vision, this Magazine was born.
Sanja wrote for several magazines, enjoys every form of writing, be it poems, case studies or prose. Her special skills lie in marketing. Currently she is an Employment Advisor. You can get in touch with Sanja by emailing her on: [email protected]
Sanja’s words on multiculturalism: “Multiculturalism for me is a synonym for humanity. Being diverse and similar at the same time is who we are and we must never forget it. Remembering this evokes respect, love, and peace, so we must keep reminding ourselves about the word multicultural”.