The Negative Impact of Technology on Interpersonal Relationships

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2 March 2016

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The first written communications were painted and carved figures in rock by cavemen. Once writing with letters was introduced it paved the way for such advances in communication such as: letters, telegraphs, and Morse code which was the first use of written communication without paper. Over the last century, social media, such as but not limited to Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and LinkedIn, have brought our society forward and helped us get connect with others and share our lives more efficiently and conveniently. In addition, it helps making global communication easier and faster as compared to hand-written mail that may take days if not weeks to reach its intended recipient. “Communication can be defined as the exchange, interchange, or transmission of messages. Communication can occur for many purposes. Most communication occurs because the content of the communication – the message – is intended either to inform or to entertain, or sometimes both. The message is the content of communication. That message is carried over some conduit – the medium – of communication (Noll, 2007, p. 2).”

However, with such luxury and convenience, there is a debate whether the way we currently interact with fellow human beings with the help of technology is good or bad to our personal relationships. The Internet has increased the amount of communication globally and devices such as Smartphones enable our ability to access the internet, our emails and social media virtually anywhere, yet ironically the very technology that helps us increase our communication hinders our ability to socialize effectively in real life and create a healthy interpersonal relationship. “I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” ― Albert Einstein. Communicating online too much could hinder our ability to socialize effectively in the real life and interpersonal relationship. Today’s generation love to communicate on the Internet. Due to the incredible convenience the Internet provides, people have become socially dependent on it, therefore their time has become preoccupied in front of the computer. With the social media constantly evolving it allows users to interact and share information with little to no face-to-face contact. Kids who grow up during this new social media age will show that they lack social skills.

They will also feel uncomfortable and awkward when talking to people face-to-face. This is because they mostly isolate themselves in front of the computer chatting and meeting with people online. They will lack the ability to recognize a persons’ body cues, facial expression, miscommunication can occur. They will often be unaware of the other member’s main idea and simply misinterpreting them. “Non-verbal communication intertwines with non-written communication and can support or change the meaning of the message the communicator is trying to send” (Gamble & Gamble T. K., 2005) Furthermore, Internet users who use the internet for their relationship will tend to lose patience to conduct social relations in the real world.  “Communication is at the core of our humanness. How we communicate with each other shapes our lives and our world. We all rely on our communication skills as we confront events that challenge our flexibility, integrity, expressiveness, and critical thinking skills. By making the effort to become more effective at interacting with persons from diverse backgrounds and by working at developing relationships based on mutual respect and a sense of ethical fairness, we increase our chances of leading more fulfilling personal and professional lives” (Gamble & Gamble T. K., 2002).

People who communicate online for their relationships usually lack of physical qualities, body cues, face expression and appearance. Some scholars in sociology have decried the negative effects of new technology on society and relationships in particular, saying that the quality of relationships is deteriorating and the strength of connections is weakening. (Richardson & Hessey, 2009) Since there is lack of expression and body cues that can’t be seen on the computer screen, the couples can’t see what’s really happening, and actually assume what they think is in their mind. When they are in argument, they could end up having their relationship into a bitter situation. Furthermore, being monogamous tends to be of less importance in relationships. (Yang, 2009). People hardly trust their partners nowadays due to the fact that social media has made cheating on a spouse a very easy task given the fact it reduces the risks of one being caught You cannot tell the real characteristic of that person until you really meet him or her. In addition to false profiles, there is also a growing concern of the increased numbers of online predators out there. These online predators usually exist among social networking sites that involve underage children that use technology as a media communication between them and their friends.

Online predators mainly exist on the Internet, because they take advantage of the anonymity that social networking sites provide. They usually treat their victims with kindness, attention and even gifts. Once the predator build trust with their victim, they will try to meet them in real life in hope that they can fulfill their fantasies of having sexual encounter with underage kids. The number of children that go unsupervised on the internet are higher than we would like to think. Figures from the government report shows that 1 in 2 children are never supervised by the parent in their online activities and also 1 in 3 chat users who attended face-to-face meetings reported that they had not received any Internet safety advice from their parents (England, 2002). After doing more research in the impact of technology on interpersonal relation, I realized that technology isn’t all that great, because it hinders us from socializing practically and creating a healthy interpersonal relationship. In like manner, the same goes for online dating because in my opinion, effective communication still needs to be done in person. Body language, voice tone, and physical contact make a huge difference in making conversation more alive.

Works Cited
England, S. G. (2002). Young Peoples Use of Chat Rooms. Implications for Policy Strategies and Programs of Education. Gamble & Gamble, T. K. (2002). Communication Works (7 ed). NY: McGraw-Hill Companies. Gamble & Gamble, T. K. (2005). Communication Works (8 ed). NY: McGraw-Hill Companies. Noll, M. (2007). The evolution of media. M.A.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Richardson, K., & Hessey, S. (2009). Archiving the self? Facebook as biography of social and relational memory”, Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 7. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Yang, L. F. (2009). New technologies in global societies. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Company.

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