More Efficency but More Dependency

In today’s society, technology has enhanced our society’s interactions to a more efficient level. But it has created a sense of urgency when things aren’t as quick as we want them to be. Everything is available at our fingertips in just a click or a finger swipe away. This has increased our effectiveness and adaptability levels, and helped form new contacts, connections, and networks that previously would have been impossible without the internet or media devices. The question is, how much does technology help humans and how much could it potentially hurt us?

Technology Becoming Too Essential

Over 73% of Americans utilize technology on a daily basis. Nearly 94% of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 use the internet. The data suggests that technology is not only popular among the younger generations, but it’s mandatory. Most bloggers on the Web are aged 21-34, the most users of Facebook are under the age of 21, and the commonly used form of communication used by teens is instant messaging and texting, nearly making phone calls or emailing obsolete. The number of ways we can be contacted instantly aides in the immediate retrieval of information at a more constant rate. Outside our screens of social networking, the effort for real interaction with other humans face-to-face becomes much harder because we’re continuously updating, linking, and connecting.

Face-to-Face Interaction Becoming Scarce

Based on a given situation, if you were to contact someone your first instinct would not be to jump in a car and visit them. Nor would it be to write them a letter and mail it. And rarely, unless the news was really stunning (or perhaps extremely urgent), would you even call them immediately. Back in the day, a letter that was sent two weeks beforehand was what was considered a normal use of communication. But today, letter writing is nearly obsolete. Why write a letter when you can text the person within seconds or write them an email within minutes? Most young adults’ first instinct would be to type a Facebook message, get on chat, or text the person. In our modern society, this has become a social norm.

Destroying Basic Courtesies

Technology has made it easier to keep in contact with people, but it’s also nearly destroyed basic relationship courtesies that were once accepted and expected to be kept. In fact, the digital age has almost made us too social. We’re constantly updating, searching, reading, responding, linking, sharing, connecting, and texting; it’s basically made us technology zombies. Outside our screens of social networking, the effort for real conversation and real interaction with other humans face-to-face is becoming scarce, even for people who claim they aren’t technology savvy.

So how do we know how much is too much?

The fact that technology is common presents an issue: how far is too far? Digital communication minimizes distance at a macro level, making it easier for people across the country to connect and share, but it creates space on a micro level. It may make it easier for people to simply just connect over the internet but it eliminates the need for a voiced face-to-face conversation. It’s faster to connect with hundreds of people instantaneously, but we shouldn’t let it control our real, in-person lives. Technology should continue to be a bridge to better connections, not a “final destination” for social interaction. When we become overly dependent on technology, it can be detrimental to individual relationships.

Conclusion: Keep It In Balance

Today's Use of Technology: How Far Is Too Far?Without a doubt, technology has in fact helped us in many ways. We’re a more advanced and connected society thanks to all the digital gadgets most, if not all of us, now possess. But what do we do to keep our daily lives on a more “real” level, rather than virtual? Living totally without technology, as least for Americans, is not an option. But making efforts to keep our lives on a face-to-face, voice-to-voice level will prove to be beneficial. Yes, it’s good to keep in contact with family and friends. Yes, it’s great that we use computers and technology to enhance our work output potential. Yes, technology has helped us. But if we don’t make the effort to keep everything in balance, by either limiting our virtual interaction or monitoring the time/exertion we put it to it, technology could very well destroy the positive elements we share as a society and keep us malnourished from the real, literal interactions that we need with our fellow humans in order to thrive.
If we can keep in mind the essence of what the technology is trying to do, helping us achieve efficiency without replacing human relations, we will be better off.