There is no doubt that technology has increased our power to communicate and has made it possible for us to get in touch with friends and family instantly. The internet in particular has become a necessary part of our daily lives as it acts as a link between us and millions of people around the world. We all find it convenient to send emails or instant messages over the internet when we need to relay information, make inquiries or simply interact with other people. Nonetheless, I strongly agree with the fact that technology hinders personal communication.
Technology is an impediment to real communication and encourages isolation and anti-socialism. Maureen Awour observes that technology “has killed the one-on-one conversation,” . Since technology makes it possible for people to communicate without necessarily meeting each other, it encourages them to stay away from each other. In the olden days, people could only communicate if and when that met in person. As a result of constant personal communication, people had better relationships and cherished each other more in those days. With advancements in technology, people in the present day spend a lot of time in front of their computer screens sending emails and chatting at the expense of personal contact and real communication with their friends and loved ones.
The hindrance of personal communication has negatively affected the social skills of people of all age groups including children and teenagers. In his article “Is the Internet Affecting the Social Skills of Our Children?” Bob Affonso acknowledges that “…Internet use has a negative influence on individuals and their social skills,”. Research indicates that constant use of the internet results in small but significant increase in loneliness, stress and desolation and a decline in psychological well-being. As people spend more time in front of their computer screens, they reportedly keep up with fewer friends and spend less time with their families.
Some people argue that technology has positively impacted on social interactions since it makes it possible for us to make friends online. Nonetheless, the ability to meet “a virtually unlimited number of people through chat rooms, bulletin boards, and other services,” has negative effects, according to Yamauchi Yutaka and Jean-Francois Coget in their article “Untangling the Social Impact of the Internet: A Large-Scale Survey,”. The internet exposes people to fraudsters and malicious people who may take advantage of and swindle unsuspecting internet users. Although the Internet can encourage openness and self-confidence while interacting with others, it is certainly unhealthy for anyone to make and sustain all of his or her social contacts through the internet. If someone is not able to effectively communicate and interact with others in reality, communicating through a computer screen will not positively impact his or her self-confidence.
I believe technological advancements have had a negative impact on our social interactions and our ability to communicate personally with each other. This is attributable to the fact that technology disconnects us from the things that are happening around us, hinders personal contact, and spreads the perception of instantaneous gratification. We must be able to use technology without allowing it to hamper personal interactions. This can only be achieved if people make deliberate efforts to meet with friends and spend more time with their loved oves and less time with their computers. Consequently, the society will have people who are more functional and socially fit.
Affonso, Bob. Is the Internet Affecting the Social Skills of Our Children? 1 December 1999. 14 September 2011 <http://www.sierrasource.com/cep612/internet.html>.
Awour, Maureen. STREET TALK: How has technology negatively impacted on society? 25 August 2010. 13 September 2011 <http://www.observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9824:-street-talk-how-has-technology-negatively-impacted-on-society&catid=40:your-view&Itemid=73>.
Yutaka, Yamauchi and Jean-Francois Coget. Untangling the Social Impact of the Internet: A Large-Scale Survey. 2002. 14 September 2011 <http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/acad_uni>.