Personal Connections in a Digital World

25 11 2013

It seems like the more and more that I live, the more jaded I could become, the more skeptical I could become of people’s true intentions, the more I grow afraid that people will hurt me.  The older I get, the more cautious I get about falling in love, making plans for forever, maintaining friendships and living out my life with people. 

It’s easy to see where that comes from.  Turn on your TV, we have 24 hour news stations that constantly report on the thousands of things going wrong in the world.  Our Congress can’t get along, Walmart workers are not being paid a reasonable wage, so they’re rallying against their employer, the wrong people can get their hands on guns, schools are not safe, the world is so many inches away from nuclear holocaust….the list of negativities goes on and on.

Then if we look at the human population in general…and we see a bunch of self-centered people that are obsessed with using technology to undermine your relationships and who use it to control others.  We see people who are constantly glued to the television set or computer screen, or telephone…and not tuned into the relationships they have in their lives.  Instead of sitting down and telling someone how we feel, we use a song or a scene from a movie/TV show to explain how we feel, just in case they don’t return it, because we’re so afraid of being hurt and experiencing that hurt in a real and honest way, that we’ll do anything to avoid it.  And when we are hurt, it’s usually over a silly thing, but we broadcast  our feelings in a facebook status, or we are passive aggressive about what we say. 

The truth of the matter is that we would rather have technology to express it all, than to actually deal with the emotions we experience, or use that technology to make sure that everyone knows what’s going on with us.

For that reason, I find it hard to be an optimist, because it’s like we are turning into robots that are pre-programmed to think and do certain things, instead of making each experience a unique, human experience. 

Until we can utilize the technology to enhance face-to-face time with people and not use it in ways that it was not intended to replace human interaction, our face-to-face interactions will suffer.  When facebook and texting replaces the face-to-face time, we have simply become robots in a highly connected, but disconnected world.  It’s easier to communicate things using technology, but the problem with that is that we don’t have the opportunity to look in the eyes of the other person and recognize that the words we are saying have an effect on another human being.  That’s why cyberbullying is so rampant!  It’s harder to look at a person and say mean things about them, but much easier when it’s a computer screen looking back at you.  The computer screen doesn’t cry. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for technology.  Skype is a wonderful invention that allows me to interact with my friends who are long distances away.  Texting is a great way to keep in touch or ask quick questions.  Phone calls are good when you can’t physically go see the person.  I am very grateful for technology!  I truly am thankful that it is there.  But, use it wisely.  Don’t use it for the wrong reasons, and remember that there is a person behind the screen on the other side of it all. 

Through all this, this technology reminds me of how important it is to maintain personal connections.  It reminds me of how much of a gift love is, regardless of the form it is in, and it reminds me of how special it is to have found someone that you can share life with.  Technology is there to enhance this, not to use it to become a stalker or constantly question a person’s whereabouts.  When we keep and maintain such connections with people, we truly get to experience the miracle it is that we call relationships. 

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