Technology’s Effect on Communication: Ruining Societies Ability to Have Interpersonal Conversations
How many times a day do you find yourself looking at your phone? I bet it’s a lot. How many times a day do you just waste your time looking at any form of technology (Social media, texting, internet)? Just think for a moment all the things you could be doing if you were not addicted to technology, and don’t think that you are not addicted because most likely you are.
This is the problem with society today, people are losing site of the real physical world as they are sucked into various forms of technology. The major problem stemming from technology is how easy it has made communicating with others, you can text or instant message anyone anywhere on the planet. Now this does make it easier to stay in touch with family, friends, etc. but what it also does is make you lose the ability to actually go and talk to someone face-to-face. As Mark Glaser said in an article “The idea of being present in the moment is disappearing faster than you can say, ‘Hey, I’ve got to take this call’. We devalue our current situation, the friends and family around us, our surroundings and setting, for something going on somewhere else.” We are losing sight of the value of being in the presence of other people, resorting to the easier and less effortful way by talking to them typing away on a keyboard and waiting for the screen to pop up with a response. Think for a second, how many times have you been sitting with friends, family, etc. and nobody is talking.
Such as the image above, they all are just looking at their phones, if this has never happened to you then you must live in a place that doesn’t have wifi. Technology is sucking the physical aspects out of life turning it into digital life. People are losing sight of what it is like to sit and have a sound conversation with someone. Imagine instead of seeing an emoji to express someone’s feelings you could actually see that expression on their REAL face, crazy thought, isn’t it?
Communication skills that individuals possess have dwindled in the last decade. With the recent trend of digital communication becoming the new go-to people are losing the ability to communicate face-to-face. What digital communication lacks is the physical aspects of face-to-face communication the recipient cannot see the senders body language, facial expression, tone, and other emotional indicators displayed through face-to-face communication. As adolescent’s transition to adulthood they are lacking the in-person communication skills (Ceulemans 12). A key point mentioned by Ceulemans is the transition to adulthood, the group that is being effected most by this new trend is adolescent’s. We are the first group that has ever experienced a technological revolution to this extent and we are letting it influence our lives greatly, not in a good way. Video on technologies effect on teens
The New Trend
The ability to communicate with people so easily through technology, people now use their phone for so much more than just what a cell phone was originally intended to do, calling people. But has it always been this way? A study in 2006 released data that says otherwise (see Fig. 2)
Fig 2. 2006 survey of abilities of cell phones. Data Source “Pew Research”
As seen from the information above, a survey asked individuals if they would like for their phones to have access to the features in the graph. The percent represents the number of people that relied no, they would not like for their cell phone to have this ability. Knowing this, look at the percentages and think how much you now use your smartphone to do these task. It is astonishing that just in 10 years how individuals opinions have changed, 52.2 percent of people did not want their cell phone to have the ability to text. Now every single phone can text and I don’t see anyone complaining. Why did peoples thinking change so quickly? Regardless, this shift is astonishing. Millions of people daily have urges to be obsessed and always on regarding technology, this cuts on creativity and deep thought, interrupting work and family life as well (Richtel 481). This new trend taken up by society is changing life forever, people are being blinded by the easiness and usefulness of technology and they are not realizing it is pulling them away from what it means to live in the moment.
The information in the graph above shows the percentage of people surveyed that did not want their phone to gain the abilities of each column. But now since this is the new trend how are people using these new abilities daily? Adolescents are the population that has the greatest chance of being negatively affected by digital communication, as seen by the graph below (Fig.1)
Fig. 1 Daily ways teens communicate with friends (2011). “Pew Research”
The information being provided by Pew Research Center and Amanda Lenhart, face-to-face communication ranks 3rd just barely beating out social media as instant messaging ranks second and texting leading the pack as ways teens communicate daily. This shows the shift that digital communication is taking over, almost making face-to-face communication become obsolete in the daily lives of adolescents. Adolescents are the part of society being effect the most, they do not know differently but to use digital communication to communicate. In a survey done by researcher John Drussell it was found that texting is the new way of communicating. A question asked: I carry on conversations over text rather than talking to people, with 64% agreeing. Another question was: I text people who are in the same place as me rather than talking, with 50% agreeing. Drussell ‘s conclusion to these findings were that “the majority of respondents agreed they relied on texting and Facebook too much…” (Drussell 37). People are texting people in the same place as them. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY ABSURD! Instead of going and talking to whoever is in the same place as them they resort to texting, I don’t know if you think this is a problem but I certainly do. With digital communication making communication so easy many people use it to have difficult conversations, etc. My honest opinion is that digital communication is making society awkward, the get so used to typing away behind a key board when they have to go talk to someone face-to-face they get nervous. Face-to-face communication isn’t normal to them, they do not know how to properly have a conversation.
Digital communication is effecting society heavily in a negative way, it is pulling people away from real physical life. Individuals are now trending to use digital communication over a face-to-face conversation, people are becoming lost due to the ways the use technology so heavily. With this trend individuals are losing necessary skills in communication, becoming more distant, and hostile, and are letting life pass while they give every second of their free time glued to technology. Face-to-face communication has lost its popularity in recent years, people are resorting to the easy quick way of communicating. If this trend continues society will be a much more distant, socially awkward, and uneducated; so please put the phones down and go talk to someone like your grandparents would when they were your age and stop this trend in its place to now have the next wave of members of society be even worse than we are today. Imagine sitting around with your friends, family, etc. and nobody is on their phone, everyone is engaged in the conversation. Personally, that sounds too good to be true in today’s world, so wake up and let’s change this trend before it’s too late.
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