Man has advanced by great lengths in the history of society. First, we had fire. Then, we learned to use tools. As time progressed, we began to learn at a more rapid pace. Using tools became a common occurrence in the world. Soon, we began writing and building vast structures and sights to behold. And eventually, we got to cell phones, computers and texting. Yes, it’s hard to believe texting is an advance in our society.
That's how some people see technology — a regression instead of a progression. It can be argued that technology can have a negative impact on our lives instead of improving it. There are seven ways in which technology affects our relationships. The times we feel the most connected to someone may also be the times ruined by the overuse of technology.
You're lying on the couch in your pajamas. It’s five o’clock in the afternoon, but you just don’t feel like leaving the house. The allure of breaking colorful gems on your phone is just too much. After all, you saw your friends yesterday. Today's your lazy day. While this attitude is good in moderation, technology can sometimes lead you to take this approach in your life far too often.
Playing on your phone or computer isn't the issue. It’s when you begin to choose the electronics over the real people in your life that causes the problem. Social isolation is an all too common occurrence when you become a bit too attached to your phone or computer. Social withdrawal is never a good thing. When you feel like just staying home, make yourself go out and be social. You’ll thank yourself for it.
Virtual worlds can create the image of a perfect reality. Sometimes, this can be a good thing. You can enter a new world and explore it. However, it’s when you begin to adopt those values that a problem begins to occur. One of the biggest culprits of this is social media.
Applications such as Facebook and Instagram tend to showcase a person’s highlight reel. They only show you what they want you to see. And, if this is taken as reality, it can make most people feel horrible about their own lives. They see somebody’s significant other and start critiquing their own. They see people out at parties and start to question why they can’t fit partying and relaxing into their busy schedule.
These feelings lead to unrealistic expectations and take the human out of the human relationship.
When you spend a lot of time on the internet, you begin to develop a specific type of language . You use acronyms and shorthand — and you may also become a bit ruder online. More often than not, people say a lot of things online they wouldn't normally say in the flesh-and-blood world.
While developing a new language isn't necessarily a bad thing, the way we act with this language is a bad thing. Internet etiquette creates a world in which deep conversations don’t exist. This bleeds over into your relationships. Instead of sitting down and having a conversation with someone, you simply sit in the same room and play on your phones.
For instance, 89% of people ages 18-29 use social networking sites like Facebook. While this is a great thing in and of itself, it doesn’t help when you gather a group of friends together and all of you are on Facebook — the app that probably got everyone gathered together in the first place.
Internet etiquette has warped us into self-absorbed cocoons.
Misunderstandings in our relationships have a lot to do with the way we have developed our language online. While using the online language, it’s almost too easy to say something you don't mean. How many times have you opened a text message and read something that throws your whole world into chaos? A misworded text can even spell the end of a relationship in some cases.
These misunderstandings can lead to fights in real life and can even hinder the actual progress of a relationship. Speaking through text and chats online aren’t comparable to the real deal. Always remember to try and talk to someone face to face if possible. It will clear up most misunderstandings.
Online dating is now the norm instead of the rare occurrence. Fifteen percent of U.S. adults use online dating, and 59% feel it’s an acceptable way to meet people — that number is up from 44% in 2005 . It’s such a convenience to pop open an app and try to meet love of your life. But be wary of not rushing things. And make sure to actually meet the person before things get serious.
A person's online persona may serve as a polar opposite to their actual character. They may not mean to lead you astray, but it’s hard for someone's true personality to shine through texts. Relationships can unfold entirely online, and when the real meeting comes, both parties are disappointed.
Lack of Empathy
Along with the new language people tend to speak when using technology, technology may create an atmosphere of angst. Even if it’s unintentional, relationships that are conducted through text and online chats brood in a sense of disjointed feelings and a general lack of empathy.
It’s easy to say anything online when you’re sitting behind a keyboard. There are no faces to connect to words. Since everything is so anonymous, people may say things they don’t really mean. They may exaggerate things. Words disconnect the human element.
In relationships, we may say hurtful things to someone that we would normally never say in a face-to-face interaction.
Heavy technology use is linked to an increase in depressive symptoms. There's no beating around the bush here. Technology, in large doses, has the potential to deal a massive amount of damage to your emotions and mental health. Your well-being is in jeopardy if you're constantly on the computer or your cell phone.
In relationships, depression affects both parties. If treated, relationships can be salvaged. But if not treated or taken seriously, it can absolutely ruin any kind of relationship. Depressive symptoms may manifest themselves in heavy technology use. It’s a vicious cycle. If you feel any sort of depressive symptoms, don't be afraid to talk to someone about it.
Technology is a double-edged sword. This advancement has helped cure diseases, educate people. It’s also destroyed relationships. Use technology wisely. And always remember to get help if you think you may be experiencing any of these events in your life.
Jennifer Landis is tea sipping, yoga loving mom, wife, and healthy living blogger. She enjoys a good run, yoga, and peanut butter. You can check out her blog, Mindfulness Mama or follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.