Do technologies help you build positive, meaningful relationships, or do technologies hinder this process? Are you better able to communicate, listen, and share because of the technologies in your life? Do you use technologies to improve your relationships and build new ones? Are you letting a few choice people know who you are and what you contribute to this world, or are you merely distracting yourself with shallow pursuits? Does technology increase or decrease your concern for others, your compassion for others, and your desire to serve them?
Well, it is apparent that technology has the potential to harm or enhance your social skills and social life. But regarding human relations related to the socialization of technology, we must insist upon the idea that any technology which enhances or promotes the relationship between users will have a much greater degree of success than another one which does not provide this. Surely, at one time or another, we have all wondered about mobile and social networks’ success, and yet, we know the answer; mobile and social networks allow us to connect with one another and so, there is an increase on the ways we communicate and share our experiences.
Let’s take a look at the growing use of technology and social media, socialization for children which have undergone major changes in the past 20 years. Instead of only meeting friends in person, talking on the home phone and passing notes during study hall, contemporary youths have several media options to communicate and build social skills. Technology has changed the way we communicate, but it hasn’t eliminated communication. The supposed death of face-to-face interaction can be traced all the way back to dated pursuits like reading newspapers or playing chess now it is one Tweet/Instagram/Facebook update at a time. We may find more people blundering down the street staring at a phone screen rather than the sidewalk in front of them, but extrapolating carelessness and (yes) rudeness into some sort of societal collapse isn’t an original idea or even a recent one.
Television is another technology that has mixed reviews with regard to social skills and social lives. Some researchers suggest that spending a limited amount of time watching wholesome programs can strengthen families and friendships. Others believe that television contributes to the downfall of social values. It does seem that many people spend less time with others in their community than they do with the people they watch daily on television. Thou, television tends to be a passive medium, which requires little skill and thought on our part (although some programming bucks this trend). Therefore, television provides little opportunity for meaningful interaction while watching. Watchers simply sit there and ingest what is presented to them without having to respond or react to another person. Obviously, this can have serious effects on people’s social skills because viewers are not practicing how to relate to and deal with other people.
It is interesting to recognize that the types of interactions that people are doing in these spaces are not isolating. They are not alone in the true sense because they are interacting with very diverse people through social networking websites, e-mail, video conferencing, Skype, instant messaging and a multitude of other ways. The types of things that are doing online often look a lot like political engagement, sharing information and having discussions about important matters. Those types of discussions are the types of things we think people are having in public spaces anyway. For the individual, there is probably something being gained and for the collective space there is probably something being gained in that it is attracting new people
Society is likely on the cusp of a social revolution, during which it will be important to redefine socially appropriate and acceptable behaviors (with regard to digital or virtual interaction). We are at a point in history where very few people have given critical thought to new social realities created by technology and what those realities mean for the individual and society. The very success of cell phones alongside the technological development made possible the emergence of smartphones, and these in turn, catalyzed parallel markets. This is another example where we find a socialization of the technology process.
With the proliferation of technologies that are able to overcome the obstacles of time and space (e.g., airplanes, cars, the Internet), one would think that these tools would be used to gain an understanding of other cultures, meet people all over the world, maintain and strengthen familial relationships, communicate effectively with others, and help people to become more socially adept. However, some technological advances cause people to be distracted, overly stressed, and increasingly isolated. Many people are involved in an abundant number of relationships through technology, but sometimes the quantity of these associations leaves people feeling qualitatively empty. Obviously, technology has had a profound impact on what it means to be social. Socializing via social media helps one develop etiquette about sending text messages, how to debate (read: argue) and intonation to some degree but teaches little about things like body language, fashion/grooming signals, etc
Technology right now is changing fastest of all, although, we wouldn’t want the city to change at the rate that our technology changes, but a city that can receive those things are going to be a healthy city into the future.
Article by: Blessing Bassey