Is Technology Taking Away Human Interaction?
The video says it all. How many times do you walk into a classroom, or any enviornemen, and people are too absorbed in their phones that they aren’t interacting with the people around them? Although technology has helped our societies grow in multitudes, it now has captivated the minds of our people. Max Frisch, a famous novelist once said, “Technology… the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it.” People are getting too absorbed by technology that they’re losing those experiences with each other. It interferes with everyday life, face-to-face interaction, and relationships.
Has Technology Intervened in Your Daily Activities?
Technology has become apart of our daily routines. Everyday I wake up, I immediately check all my applications for any new notifications. I don’t just check in the mornings however, it has become a routine of mine to check my phone almost every five minutes. The internet has provided our society with a mass amount of information. The internet has given us so many applications that one could pratically do whatever they wanted on them. The graph below shows what most people do while on the interent. All of these different usages have become a huge distraction.
An article found in the Carolina Rhetoric talks about one man’s experience with technolgy. Mr. Campbell, a software engineer, is completely absorbed by his gadgets. He’s so attached that they have become a distraction with his work and family. On a Wednesday in April, Mr. Campbell approaches an online conference in 10 minutes, but easily gets distracted by a tweet. The meeting is quickly approaching, yet “Mr. Campbell cannot resist the tweet about the corpse” (Ritchell , 486). Rather than preparing for the meeting, a simple tweet distracts Mr. Campbell from assembling his work to present his new software Loggly. One would expect that a person’s focus would be directed on their work especially if it’s a conference determined the fate of their new venture. The conference he attended to was online, but if he and his colleagues were to meet in person, he wouldn’t have been getting distracted by all his devices and a tweet. Mr. Campbell isn’t the only one who gets distracted from his work.
People have jobs for a purpose, to do the task and to get paid for it. At work one should be focusing on their job, whether it’s simplistic or tough, it’s what they’re entitled to. Employers provide tools for their employees to use to benefit their compay or research, yet they worry that’s not what they’re getting used for (Olmstead, Lampe, & Ellison, 1). A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that out of the 2,003 people they surveyed, 37% use social media to take a mental break from work and 27% use it to connect with friends and family (Olmstead, Lampe, & Ellison). As you can see from the data posted on the left, the majority of the time spent on media is to connect with friends or family rather than improving their work ethic. Work is just one of the many things that technology interfers with. If people weren’t blinded by their addiction, they would be able to focus more on their work. This interference can take away human interaction because these applications can become a distraction, rather than a tool of conversation.
Taking Away Face-to-Face Interactions: Why Are They Important?
The conversation that you had this morning is an example of face-to-face interaction. These interactions happen daily, and are needed to grow one’s social skills. When people are too attached to their devices they miss out on these experiences. “People are becoming more reliant on communicating with friends and family through technology and are neglecting to engage personally,” (Drago, 4). By relying on your devices to communicate, people miss out on these real life engagements. As humans, we need these conversations. The power of face-to-face interactions is the involvement of “mulitomodal sensory information.” These would be like nonverbal cues or gestures; things that technology can’t provide.
Technology increases this interpersonal distance between one another. AT&T’s slogan, “reach out and touch someone” implies that reaching out to someone through an emotional sense is the same as reaching out to them physically (McQuillen, 1). However, that’s not the case. These phone companies create distance between one another, but portray the idea that it’s the same as having face-to-face conversations. Although one can still hear the other person, “the absence of the characteristics associated with face-to-face communication can result in a loss of fidelity and an increase in the psychological distance between interactants,” (McQuillen, 1). The interactions taken place by computer-mediated or by phone may be misleading. Those messages serve to create a less accurate representation of the sender and their message. Certain media and applications take away from these personal actions as well. Without this intercommunication, our verbal and non-verbal skills may diminish.
We build our social skills by having conversations. As a child, we learned our language by picking up on the speech, and the gestures that come with them. The gestures and tone that an individual can apply in conversation can emphasize the message he or she is trying to get across. Face-to-face interactions provide eye contact as well. Eye contact can help keep an individual engaged throughout the conversation, and can even build trust between the two. Our parents taught us mannerisms that came along with these gestures. I was taught to look people in the eye while talking to them. These mannerisms support these gestures. They’re important in situations like interviews, because some people may consider it rude to be looking elsewhere instead of focusing on them. These are all bodily functions that technology can’t provide. Technology has become an interfence in these communications. Attached below is a link, that provides other benefits of face-to-face conversations.
Technology and Relationships
There are thousands of online dating websites and ways to meet others in this generation. These dating websites also have applications so it is easier to meet and interact. Caitlyn Dewey, a writer shown in The Carolina Rhetoric, gets to know a guy she met at a Web journalism conference entirely through Skype. Will, the guy she meets, and Caitlyn admit to one another that they like each other. Since they ended up liking each other they arranged a visit for Caitlyn. When they finally meet each other in person, their feelings changed. When she visited Caitlyn observed, “In real life, Will stared off at nothing while I talked. In real life, he had no questions about the drive or my work or the stuff that waited me when I got back to school” (Dewey, 520). In real life, conversations are forced to come about. Face-to-face interaction relies on conversation, and usually has meaning behind it. Their relationship was easier to cope with over Skype, because whenever their dialogue became dull or awkward she could vanish with just one click. Even though Skype helped them with the distance issue, it took away their ability of getting to know each other on a deeper level. By seeing him in person, she learned where he lived and she saw his character in a “new light” rather than just the one from his laptop screen.
In most relationships technology plays a huge role, whether it’s first dates, marriages, or couples. NPR News’ Art Silverman, interviews people that are in these situations and how they feel about them. The first interview Mrs. Hughes, explains how her first date went and why she didn’t like it. She says, “I was fishing in my purse for a tissue or something and I looked over and I could tell that he was under the table, like James Bond, texting, you know, or BlackBerrying. And I was kind of like, do you really think that I don’t see you over their kind of like trying to hide your paraphernalia from me? I don’t — I really — like, that’s kind of rude.” (NPR News). When one is on a phone rather than interacting with their date, it gives off the impression that they’re not that interested. It creates the image that they’re more interested in their phone rather than their date, and like Mrs. Hughes, others would most likely view it as rude.
Technology has changed today’s norm of dating. Most interactions taken in today’s generation happens virtually. A survey conducted by the Pew Research studied different interactions such as breakups, flirting or relationships in general, etc. In the survey, the research team found that 92% of teens in a romantic relationship spend their time texting messaging, 87% spend their time talking on a phone with their significant other, and then third is being together in person at 86% (Lenhart, Anderson, and Smith, 1). The rest of the data shown in the graph below, shows other ways/ percentages of the usage of technology in his or her relationship. Notice that seeing each other in person is third, when it should be first. It’s also the only aspect that doesn’t deal with technology, yet it’s the most valuable. It’s the most valuable, because it’s the aspect in which people get to know/ understand each other best. When it comes to flirting, social media is the top venue. Most flirting is done by liking, commenting, and friending. “Forty-seven percent have expressed their attraction by liking, commenting or otherwise interacting with that person on social media” (Lenhart, Anderson, & Smith, 1). This is saying that almost half of the teens that they surveyed flirt with each other through social media, rather than just going up to one another and giving a compliment. It is easier to show attraction to someone else from behind a screen, but it can also belittle someone at the same time. Previously stated, by messaging someone online can mislead someone because they can’t see what they’re actually trying to portray because of the lack of gestures. When one hide behinds screen, they can’t show off their true potential. Technology has changed today’s relationships by taking away communication. Like they always say, “communication is key” especially in relationships.
So, What About FaceTime?
Personally, I use facetime all the time to talk to my sister, yet it still isn’t the same as seeing her in person. I don’t get that thrill or excitement like I do when I get to see her. Although FaceTime has helped with long distance relatioinships, it still takes away that in depth interaction. There’s a fuzzy screen that seperates us, and usually, we end up losing connection and I’m left with a black screen to talk too. There are a few dangers that can come along with FaceTime as well. One time while I was FaceTiming my sister, I failed to realize that there were other people around with her listening into the conversation. There was a lack of privacy, and I didn’t know other people were around considering all I could see was what her camera was showing. FaceTiming has also become a bigger distraction. People can barely ignore phone calls, so how can they turn down FaceTime?
It’s also not as genuine as being with that person face-to-face. For example, say an individual FaceTimed you crying. The most you can do is just say “sorry” and ask “what happened?” but when you’re in person you can show more care. You can hug them, and even take them out to go get ice cream! Which is something you can’t do over FaceTime or phone calls.
Conclusion: As our society grows, technology grows with it. They go hand in hand. We as a whole feel pressured to use it, since that’s all were surrounded by. We become so absorbed, that we begin to lose focus on the experience. Although it can be beneficial, it still takes away that human communication. It drives us farther apart. It takes away from face-to-face interaction which is necessary for an individual’s learning experience and for a better understanding of one’s speech. Technology interferes with everyday life, and relationships between people and families. Overall, it’s taking away our interaction between one another.
Dewey, Caitlin. “Even in Real Life, There Were Screens Between Us.” The New York Times 1. May 2011. Web. 9 July 2011.
Drago, Emily. “The effect of technology on face-to-face communication.” The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications 6.1 (2015): 13-19.
Lenhart, Amanda, Monica Anderson, and Aaron Smith. “Teens, Technology and Romantic Relationships.” Pew Research Center Internet Science Tech RSS. N.p., 01 Oct. 2015. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.
McQuillen, Jeffrey S. “The influence of technology on the initiation of interpersonal relationships (1).” Education 123.3 (2003): 616. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.
Olmstead, Kenneth, Cliff Lampe, and Nicole B. Ellison. “Social Media and the Workplace.” Pew Research Center Internet Science Tech RSS. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Nov. 2016.
Richtel, Matt. “Hooked on Technology, and Paying a Price.” The New York Times 7 June 2010.
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“Tiptoeing with Tech: Devices and Relationships.” All Things Considered 30 Nov. 2009. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.