There’s no denying that technology is making our everyday lives better. Technological advances are pushing our world to take giant leaps ahead. Flying cars are still not a tangible reality, but we are getting there. And life on Mars is beginning to look like a possible future, according to certain minds.
Technology has also helped us immensely when it comes to ease of communication as well. Who would have imagined centuries ago that we would have the means to communicate with anyone anywhere in the world in real-time?
Who would have imagined that technology would make it possible for people to switch to working online? Or celebrating the birthday of a loved one in real-time despite living on different continents?
So to connect? Or to not disconnect? Is technology making us more or less social? Researchers have been debating this question for quite some time now. Let’s delve into the up- and downsides of modern tech.
The upsides of technology
Technology is helping us be and feel more social. Compared to decades ago, we now can communicate with hundreds of people every day. It doesn’t matter if we know everyone we interact with or not. And that’s the beauty of technology: it gives us the opportunity to see and explore different and often contrasting viewpoints. It makes us more open to a conversation with people we do not know and welcome change in different areas of our lives.
Social networks also may help us be more proactive and take action. Various political, social, and climate strike movements were made possible and gained exposure and popularity thanks to technology and the power of social media.
The downsides of technology
Nevertheless, there are several downsides to any advances in technology. Remember the discussion on the pros and cons of autonomous cars?
Since social media started gaining popularity in the last decade, discussions on its positive and negative effects are still ongoing. As social networking apps pop up every day, borderline addiction to these networks, as with any type of addiction, is becoming more and more harmful.
While we might be mindful that social media is wasting our precious time, at the same time, it may be hard to stop the infinite scrolling. We’ve all been there. Sometimes even on auto mode without even paying attention to what we are looking at.
Technology has the power to draw us back in and “force” us to pay less attention to our real, physical world and the real people in front of us.
Have you ever asked yourself if it is more important to reply and socialize with the person or people next to you, in real-time, or respond to that message, to that email, or that sweet comment on your Instagram feed? Are the people sitting at the same table with you more important than anonymous social media followers or strangers on the internet? To whom do you pay attention first? Who and what gets the priority in your life?
Finding the golden middle
Being responsive on social media at all times is tempting. Checking your notifications is tempting. However, it is essential to be mindful of these actions and limit online time as much as possible. It is the only way to make space for real-life interactions. Enjoying nature, exploring new places, connecting with fellow human beings, making plans and creating projects, and completely forgetting about checking our handheld devices are also important for our wellbeing.
Yes, technology is enriching our social relationships. We are being more social than we ever were before. But at the same time, we are being less social and communicating less with people we know and meet in person.
Taking a break from our devices from time to time is also recommended. It might be refreshing and give you the chance to come back with a new perspective and take back control of how you spend your valuable time on a day-to-day basis.