Staying Connected in the Technical Age
Originally, the use of technology seemed like it would make staying connected to each other easier than ever. After all, the majority of our technological advances, from cell phones with texting, to the internet with endless social media platforms, all seem to revolve around communicating with other people. So how is it that with so many more tools meant to help us stay connected, many of us feel more disconnected than ever? The problem isn't with the tools themselves. Used appropriately, they can all be very useful. Issues creep in when we become completely reliant on technology. How many times have you been in a restaurant and noticed a table full of people, supposedly there to eat and socialize together, all glued to their phones, texting or posting Instagram pictures, while ignoring the people in their presence? It’s an all too common phenomena, and one that can lead us to feel isolated, lonely, and ignored. As we become more and more tech-savvy, we're losing our face to face communication skills. This can simultaneously cause feelings of being bombarded with constant interaction and like we can go days without having even a single meaningful conversation. Along with the fact that we often ignore the people in our physical company because we're caught up in posting updates to people in other parts of the country, another issue that arises is that there are so many things that can't be communicated through a medium like texting. We can't look into each other’s eyes, read facial expressions and body language, or hear the tone in which words are spoken. These missing components make it all too easy to misunderstand each other. Misinterpreted texts and emails have caused countless cases of hurt feelings and anger that wouldn’t have occurred if the same conversation had taken place face to face. It’s unrealistic to think that in today’s world that the solution is to completely shun technology, and even if you could, would you really want to? After all, it can be very useful. Skype can let grandparents see a new grandbaby from the other side of the world when they might not be able to afford a plane ticket for several months. A quick text message from the grocery store when you've forgotten which brand of ice cream your dinner guests prefer can be very convenient! A good middle ground is to use technology as a supplement, not a replacement, for face to face communication. Whenever you have options available, go for the most direct and personal form of talking. Remember, your phone should be something that is used in your service, not the other way around. Many groups of people craving for more face to face interaction have begun to ban cell phones from the dinner table and other social gatherings. Turn off the phone and turn towards the people in your proximity. You might be pleasantly surprised to find that disconnecting from technology during these times revives the sense of connection you've been missing. Devon is a Licensed Mental Health/Substance Abuse Counselor, Personal Life Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, and a nationally certified teacher. She is committed to helping young people be their highest selves in all areas: body, mind, and spirit. Her expertise, enthusiasm, energy and educational background serve to create a unique blend of services and techniques employed to help you reach your goals. For counseling sessions, coaching, or training, please contact her at 505.469.0779 or firstname.lastname@example.org.