As a professional in the technology field, one of the primary concerns that I hear regarding technology is that it is destroying face-to-face interaction and communication between people.
Although this is a valid concern and is very true in many aspects, many people fail to observe the positive aspects of technology in regards to personal communications.
I recently had a conversation with my Dad discussing the differences in communication in today’s society as compared to society 30-40 years ago.
He was mentioning that families used to gather together every night for dinner – without a TV, and discuss each other’s days.
It is quite common in today’s society for a family to eat dinner completely separate from each other or, at least, have a television on while eating dinner – almost purposely avoiding face-to-face communications.
I began to ask myself, why?
As I pondered this question, I came up with a few different reasons for this.
The obvious reason – and the one that most people will come up – is that we have so many different distractions in modern society that we rarely find time to take a breath and leave all the devices alone for a few minutes.
I also realized something else, without actually talking to one another face-to-face, we already know a great deal about each other’s day and lives. Different forms of communication are so widely available and accessible today, that we rarely go more than 5 or 6 hours without some form of communication with those who are close to us.
Husbands, wives, boyfriends and girlfriends no longer go entire days without speaking to each other on the phone, emailing each other, facebooking each other, texting each other or all of the above.
Whether better or worse, because we’re already very aware of each others’ activities, we no longer need a formal sit down at the end of the day to fill each other in on what has happened.
Now, back to the conversation I had with my Dad. You see, he moved away from his parents for work after graduating from college – as did I.
So I asked him, “Dad, how often did you speak with your parents when after moving away”.
His answer was as I expected, “Once a week, on Sunday evenings.”
Now I’m sure there were people who spoke with their parents daily even before the cell phone era.
The point however, is that in today’s society, I communicate with my parents by cell phone, email, texting, video chat and even Facebook.
I may even go a few days or possibly a week without communicating with them but, if at any point I need to, I have multiple options for doing so.
So although we may have lost some direct face-to-face communication in today’s fast paced, modern society, we have increased the overall amount of daily communications and the overall number of communication options as compared to society in the past.
The long-term societal effects of modern communication are still to be seen. It is true that we do not communicate as directly as in the past. It is also true however, that we communicate more regularly, at a quicker pace and through many more mediums than before.
All variables considered, do you think the modern forms of communication are more beneficial or more detrimental to society?