Digital technology has been part of the world for several decades, but in more recent ones it has become a mass phenomenon. Devices reached affordable prices and internet functions began to be inserted everywhere, even in everyday life, until the advent of omnipresent social networks.
Thus technology has taken part of our lives, or rather it has changed them profoundly. This also applies – and above all – to the ways in which it has changed human relationships, sometimes for the worse but sometimes also for the better. Here are 5 ambivalent signals that explain this phenomenon.
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Technology has changed relationships: here’s how to understand it
It is undeniable that technology now plays a pivotal role in the daily lives of each of us. We can’t take our eyes off our cell phone, which we turn on as soon as we open our eyes in the morning, the computer is an integral part of many people’s work routine and tablets are entertainment for both young and old.
In short, technology has inevitably revolutionized our lives, changing us and our relationships. Some signs confirm this.
Pretense, ostentation and the need for social approval
Social networks are among the technologies with the greatest number of negative signals on human relationships. And it is above all because they gave birth to a world of fiction.
Even in the past, fragile people sought the approval of others. If a boy felt alone at school, he tried to join the “in” group and even did things against his will. The problem is that with social media many lives have become public and everyone is bombarded with posts from other people’s lives. Which – coincidentally – always seem like perfect lives online.
But what we see on social media is often very fake, artfully edited just to make a good impression. Some don’t understand it, so they suffer and try to compensate. They do it through an even higher need for social approval, this time all online and therefore even more fake, entrusted to likes or views.
It especially happens to the most fragile and this is also why we need to think carefully about the age of children’s first smartphone. Connecting them to the fake lives that exist on the web can expose them to great dangers.
Shortened communication distances
There is one point on which technology makes everyone agree, and positively: it has shortened distances that were initially unbridgeable, allowing us to connect to those who are really important. Especially when it’s really needed.
Thanks to technology we can stay close to distant relatives, check that a friend in difficulty is well, video call someone if we feel alone or fragile. Even keeping in touch with people we know on the other side of the globe: sometimes distances seem completely eliminated rather than shortened.
Everything happens at affordable costs, with simplified methods even for the less experienced, at any time and very quickly. Advantages that we never want to give up again, which have improved our relationships.
We are close physically, but distant mentally
The paradox is that, if technology brings us closer together in crazy ways when we are physically distant, it risks distancing us mentally when we are side by side.
Today it is very common to see people sitting at the same table, side by side on a walk or in a car or relaxing together at home, but not speaking to each other. The head is bent over the cell phone, scrolling useless timelines or even talking to others, instead of keeping each other company.
Addictions to social networks, to scrolling and time-wasting distractions, to WhatsApp and various chats, destroy the quality of our social relationships and the time spent together. We are constantly looking for friends online but we don’t pay attention to those in front of us. It is one of the worst reasons why smartphones are bad for both children and adults.
There is one imperative: in good company, your cell phone stays in your pocket. Eyes on the real world and ears on our interlocutor. Sometimes it’s worth it even if it’s a stranger, who knows if that guy in front of us in line at the post office will be nice… a whole different experience.
The impossible possibilities of technology
An unequivocal positive sign of technology is the possibility of doing things that were truly impossible before: this happens thanks to the internet, its enormous abundance and the breadth of its networks. And some of these things really represent salvation for many people.
Who lives in difficult contexts, for example, can find an escape from their difficulties or even therapeutic support. Those who feel trapped by few opportunities can use the internet to learn a lot of culture. Those with limited financial resources can find an enormous amount of free things to do online, to entertain themselves.
And above all, many can form relationships that would otherwise be impossible: friends from other countries, people who share the same passions as us or solidarity help that brings us out of the darkness. Furthermore, over time, many of these digital relationships can become physical, real, human.
The stress of perpetual reachability
The last negative point is the excess of social relations with technology. Sometimes we are too busy trying to be contactable at any time: to give help, for emergencies, to maintain good relationships, even for work. All right reasons, but when put together they generate precisely that excess.
Always being reachable is very stressful. It pushes us to always be on the alert, always ready to react to the stimulus of the notification or phone call. It means never being alone, while carving out a few moments for yourself is important. To relax, to reorganize your thoughts, to enjoy the silence.
Remember, “unplugging” is essential. To avoid stress and technology burnout, make things clear with loved ones and even with work: when you are not reachable it is for a good reason, that is, to preserve your health and well-being.