With so many devices of all shapes and sizes complete with any number of applications, it is no wonder so many people feel lost without them. Virtual schools, dating cafes, and social sites are just a few examples of ways in which technology has put the world - literally - at our fingertips. But with all of these services geared toward convenience, are we losing our connection with humanity?
From passing notes to twittering; today’s students’ use of technology is bitter sweet
Many schools are switching to a more computer-based approach, incorporating tablets and laptops into their every-day lesson plans as a means of increasing efficiency while reducing paper waste. And, though this tactic is proving valuable for some things (such as improving access to faculty and familiarizing students’ with a technological world), some teacers believe it is too much.
According to the Washington Post, students spending ample time on their devices can impact the classroom as well, due to the time teachers must waste in getting their students to “log off” before class can begin. But what about classrooms that require the use of personal technology, such as when tablets replace textbooks or testing materials? Such a situation may make any teacher’s attempt at gaining his or her classrooms full attention almost futile.
Dating has become less personal
With the many obligations many people face throughout their days, there is limited time left to search for a romantic partner in a traditional sense (church, bars, and social gatherings, for example). This is where online dating comes in. Now it is easier than ever to cherry-pick the people one wishes to date based on hundreds of optional characteristics. While this may expedite the selection process, it limits our society’s acceptance of variety. If someone dislikes another person’s personality traits - however petty they may be - it is significantly more likely, in the age of internet dating, that they will push that person to the side in search of a more close fit. It is in this way that speed dating virtual-style can actually reduce acceptance of diversity.
Befriending only involves accepting a “friend request”
In addition to helping find dates, the internet serves as a means to stay connected with friends from around the world. With the use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, acquaintances who met through a foreign exchange program years ago can be virtually as close as best friends and neighbors. This is all good and fine when it comes to staying up-to-date with friends and family members, but has in many ways become a crutch for maintaining relationships. For example, people often complain about others texting or tweeting during dinner or other social gatherings but will then turn around and do the same.
As a result of increased usage of social sites, especially those with mobile applications, many people have begun finding it hard to communicate effectively during face-to-face interaction. Over time, people will be less capable of interpreting simple facial gestures or changes in tone used during conversation, thus future generations will need special training in communication styles and patterns to keep communication skills at par or better. This is especially true for people wishing to enter the field of public relations.
The internet can be a valuable asset for just about anything anymore, but it is important to understand how its limitless possibilities could still hinder society. Relying too heavily on various forms of media has been a driving force behind a sort of social segregation; a world in which conversation cannot happen without the aid of a technical device. So, even though your laptop may make things easier, take a step back before diving head-first into the next internet craze lest it be the only thing which truly keeps you warm at night.