Effects of Technology on Interpersonal Relationships The passing of time certainly brings with it so many changes in lifestyle, communication and interactions between people. One of the most rapidly developing industries is the technological industry which shell out new gadgets every month or so to feed the seemingly insatiable hunger of technophiles and even ordinary people who just want easy access to information and communication…
The fast-paced life of people today keeps human relationships on a standstill most of the time. The many things that occupy our time – family, school, building a career at work, etc., have made rushing from one place to another and always lacking time for everything common features in most people’s lifestyles. However, the human need to be connected to others is always present, and so people have turned to technology, specifically the internet, or mobile phones to fulfil this need. Family and friends have become more accessible and available in just a click of a button. The internet also offers a myriad of opportunities for meeting more people, relaxing with online games, sharing pictures and videos and an outlet to express innermost thoughts and feelings to share with others. The question of how technology affects interpersonal relationships is becoming a popular issue nowadays. The generation gap between the older people and the younger generation is broadening. Older people are accustomed to candid conversations with eye contact and are usually adept at reading body language and nonverbal gestures. The young people of today are very much into technological communication via texting, internet chatting, tweeting, etc. and are engaged with their mobile phones, Ipods, Ipads and other gadgets. When brought together, the older people may complain that the younger ones are lacking manners because they do not know how to give due attention to their companions. It is as if they live in their own worlds, with their gadgets as their gateway to reach their friends. Michael Bugeja’s book on the Interpersonal Divide meticulously describes how the technological age has affected humankind, most especially its humaneness in interacting with others. What prevail right now in terms of technology are computers, the internet, mobile phones, television, radio and other media paraphernalia. These things physically separate people from each other but provide a way for them to connect using technology. In Chapter 3, Bugeja explains how the proliferation of computer-mediated communication affects our views, expectations and interpersonal relationships. In computer-mediated communication, so many of our personhood becomes filtered that the communication lacks social cues. It then prevents the establishment of strong interpersonal collaboration and trust especially in cyber environments where invisibility is an option. Thus, when people chat online or send text messages, a lot of miscommunication may take place when the received messages are interpreted differently from how the sender meant it. This is because the text do not show people’s tone of voice, facial expression or non-verbal gestures which contribute to the clarity of the message sent. Media and technology saturate the lives of people with so many tasks they can do simultaneously and that makes them feel productive at a faster rate. When they log-out from the virtual world and re-join the real world, they may find it difficult to be accustomed to it for some time. The real world has three dimensions- up, down and breadth. It also offers intricate human sensations experienced in person. Bugeja also explains that interpersonal skills become the result of physical formats in the real world such as touch, eye contact, smell, ...
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