“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” – Albert Einstein, perhaps ~smile~ Some say Einstein said this, but I am not sure proof exists. At any rate, it seems to fit!
Technology is such a blessing in my life! Whether it is brand new technology or old school technology, I cannot deny that it makes my life easier – for the most part. Putting my dirty dishes into a dishwasher and pressing “wash” is so nice! Throwing my clothes into a box and pressing “start” beats finding a clean creek or river in which to dunk them!
And, cell phones! As a teenager, a cell phone meant Mom could track me down any time of day or night. As an adult, the cell phone (and better yet, the smart phone) means I can be entertained from morning until well into the night! Before I hop out of bed, I can check texts, e-mail, Facebook, and play several rounds of Candy Crush Saga (or fail the same round of Candy Crush Saga… five times). Not only that, but I can take pictures of items I am thinking of buying, send them to Eric, and get his feedback almost instantly – assuming he checks his smartphone, of course. ~wink~
The Downside of our Beloved Gadgets
Then there is the downside to technology. Because there are so many great ways to make life easier for us, we can get more done! Is that not exciting?!?! We can stay up all hours of the night getting more done because it is so easy now! We may not be sleeping, our relationships may be suffering, and we may be hating life, but, at least life is “easier!”
So, yes, I have a love/hate relationship with technology. Though I cannot deny the benefits it brings to my life, I struggle not to despise the distractions it brings as well. Remember when you would go out to eat with friends and no one would be looking at a cell phone? You may be too young to remember those days, but I do! They were great! Now if there is a lull in the conversation, or if you are just too tired to talk, you can whip out your phone and ignore whoever is sitting there – which may be okay… since he or she is probably ignoring you too.
How Technology Can Kill a Couple’s Connection
There are several ways technology can sneak into your relationship and shut down your emotional bond, but I’ll touch on three:
- Technology gives us an out when we are in an argument or if we do not feel like communicating. “She’s yammering again. I think I’ll just settle here in front of the TV and get lost.” “He is complaining about my housekeeping again. Locking myself in the bathroom and playing a few rounds of Candy Mania sounds pretty good right now. I’ll turn the shower on so he thinks I’m busy.” When the power goes out, do you not feel completely lost? I do. There is absolutely nowhere to get mentally lost. You can read a book by candlelight, but you cannot get sucked into a movie or a video game. You can’t throw yourself into housework either unless you plan to use some interesting pioneer techniques. It is easier to hide than to communicate, but if you get in the habit of hiding out, communicating will become much harder over time. Communication is a skill; so, without practice, you won’t be as sharp.
- Technology promises a “better” life and we become addicted to the quickness and immediacy it affords us. Relationships are hard work. Arguments are not always solved in mere seconds. Sometimes they take hours to talk through and we get frustrated because we are used to getting all we “need” in no time flat. It also sucks up precious time we could be spending with other people. If you have ten minutes of free time, you could spend them with your sweetie, or you could spend them on your phone, iPad, computer, or in front of the TV. These options take less energy, but what is it costing you relationally in the long run?
- Technology makes quality human interaction seem obsolete. “I don’t need to talk to Mom on the phone today. I just need to ask her a quick question. I’ll text her and then I won’t have to spend fifteen minutes actually sharing details of my day with her. It’ll be great!” It sounds awful, but don’t we do that scenario ourselves so often?! I am terrible about choosing quick, emotionless texts over a potentially draining phone conversation. Talking on the phone wears me out, so I avoid it; but, if I avoid it too often, I slowly but surely start losing my connection with friends and family. Not that texting is bad – I am greatly thankful for it in many situations – but it cannot take the place of good, voice-to-voice bonding. Whether we like to admit it or not, we need other people. We need to hear, see, smell, and touch them.
Put Technology in the Proper Place
Technology does not have to be the enemy. We must keep a good handle on it if we are going to make and maintain quality human relationships. On our death beds, hopefully we won’t ask to see our smart phones (or whatever awesome alternative is available at that time). We will probably want our family around us, holding our hands, and bonding with us until the end. Relationships are more work than using technology, but man are they worth it!
So, turn off your phone for a while today and have a good conversation with your sweetie, parents, siblings, friends, or neighbors. Let’s unplug and connect with people again! ~smile~
How has technology blessed and harmed your relationships?