Can technology and human communication be out of step?
Technology acts as a barrier to communication when (1) it reduces the quantity and the quality of time that we spend with each other and (2) it distracts us from noticing the rest of our lives.
Less Face Time
When we use our computer to bank, shop online, we no longer talk to the tellers, or to the store clerks.
When we monitor our children’s process via the school’s portal, we have less face to face communication with the teachers or other parents.
When we email other employees, we may have less face time with them.
When we use online social networks, we see more of our friends pictures, but less of them in real life.
When our children play computer games with their friends, they may no longer go outdoors and play.
The list of how we use less face time goes on and on.
More Distractions, Less Presence
When we email or text people while at the beach, we no longer stay present to the sound of the waves, or the conversation with others.
When we email or text people while at home, we may miss out on the conversations that are taking place within the family.
When we are internet browsing and emailing while having coffee at Panera or Starbucks, we may no longer be present to other people in the place, to the flavor of the coffee or the food we’re having.
When we talk on our cell phones while driving, we may get distracted from enjoying the drive and our surroundings. Or, we may just crash onto something.
All in all technology can prevent us from connecting with people in meaningful ways and prevent us from enjoying the present as it unfolds.
Technology can be a formidable barrier to human communication, but we cannot let that prevent us from appreciating the synergy between technology and human communication.