An ongoing theme this blog continually touches on is how technology affects many aspects of our lives. One area most people probably don’t think about on a regular basis is how technology affects our relationships. Lets take a few minutes to look at both sides of the issue. Have relationships changed as a result of technology?
The world is more interconnected now than ever before thanks to mediums like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, email and more. Some people argue that this interconnectedness has not come without a cost. The more we use technology, the more it becomes integrated into our lives; therefore, we become more interconnected with other people’s lives. The Internet facilitates the ability of technology to keep us all connected. More recently, there has been research done on Internet addiction. Researchers suggest that the Internet is the television of the 21st century. They are both electronic drugs that keep people away from quality relationships with others. This could go to show that technology has been affecting relationships since the beginning.
Communication has changed as a result of technology. When we solely rely on technology to communicate with one another, we isolate ourselves. Relationships are a two way street. We may be communicating with on another, but we are not connecting with one another in the same way. It is completely a matter of opinion how people prefer to communicate with one another and what they think is the most effective way to communicate. Technology has opened up new ways for people to communicate that can impact relationships.
People may be able to express themselves better through writing than through verbal communication making social media an asset. For these people, technology facilitates a way for them to strengthen their relationships. There are some things I would love to simply communicate through a social medium rather than confront a person about face-to-face, but I know some of those things should be spoken. When a technological barrier is present, it is much easier to say something you would not normally say to a persons face. Relationships suffer when people no longer know where the line is. What people are trying to say might not come across as effectively through written communication. People emotions and reactions can be interpreted the wrong way. Sarcasm is hard to decipher when read from a screen unless you know the person pretty well. Even then it can be tricky.
Once something is written online, there is a permanent record. People have to be careful what they are willing to write. Technology can help relationships by providing a communication medium, but it can also hinder relationships when communication that should be face-to-face takes place through technology. The amount of communication that takes place through technology is also a significant factor. When all communication takes place through technology and there is no verbal communication relationships suffer. There is a need to find a happy medium.
Some people may argue that relationships have in fact not changed as a result of technology, but they have simply evolved to fit within the new structure of society as it has developed. Religion is an example of this. The overall principles of religion have not changed throughout the years, but many churches have adopted modern approaches when tackling the subject. The same can be said about relationships. The basic structure of relationships have not changed. What constitutes a relationship is still the same. Technology has not altered relationships most basic principles. The type of relationship and the way people communicate with one another may be altered as a result of technology, but the principles remain.
Relationships have evolved over the years and technology has more than likely played a role. One could argue that the way people communicate through technology today is the same way people used to communicate with pen and paper, but the rapid speed at which information now flows makes this a stretch. Whether or not you believe technology affects relationships, the important thing to remember is not to overuse technology and allow it to affect your relationships. Technology has the power to bring us together and tear us apart all at the same time.