Has technology changed our relationships; “for better or for worse?” Aren’t we more connected then ever now that we have facebook, twitter, texting and email? Not so says Dr. Sherry Turkle who has done over 30 years of research on how technology affects people of all ages. She is the founder and director of the MIT initiative on Technology and Self whose new book called “Alone Together; why we expect more from technology and less from each other.” She states people that devote most of their time connecting online are more “isolated” which is leading to lives that are “emotionally disconnected.
How can that be when you look on your facebook page and see hundreds of friends?
At home, families sit together texting, reading emails or watching the old fashioned TV. At work executives text during board meetings, sometimes using their laptop. We text while shopping and worse, when walking across busy streets. During classes students are busy on their computers surfing the net when they need to be listening to their professors.
Dr. Turkles students tell her that there is something new that they are doing. They are learning to maintain eye contact with someone they are talking to while texting to someone else at the same time. Amazing!! What will they think of next?
Okay, who has a facebook page raise your hands? How many friends do you have? Hundreds, thousands, who do you, consider a true friend?
Turkle states that these technological devices are such a powerful threat they are not only changing what we do, they are changing who we are.
Wow, that’s profound!
What is happening to the art of conversation? What does society consider a healthy relationship? Has the term relationship changed? Our society may be so immersed in our enticing technological gadgets that we have become unaware of how we are acting or communicating to others.
We know that technostress and data smog affects peoples stress levels. We all know that stress affects relationships. What about manners? Etiquette? Do we even know what that means any more or maybe our rules have changed and we are accepting the fact that people don’t look at you when they are talking. Instead, they are looking down at their messages on their phone, computer or iPad or people are talking out loud on their phones about their personal issues.
Are we just “tuning them out” and accepting the “lack of attention”?
I can remember when those big cell phones first came into existence. Remember? It showed “status” to have one, you were “somebody”. (I think if you’ve forgotten you can see them on reruns of Seinfeld)
Now most people have cell phones. What is considered “status” now is how much knowledge you can get from the internet or how “many” gadgets you have. Every couple of months a new device comes out and people (even though they have a cell phone) they have to get the new one. It’s human nature.
We need to ask ourselves; When does the use of technology change from being useful to being rude? You tell me? www.chatwithjill.com