Recently, we saw a post on Facebook that said social media is destroying relationships. In response, someone disagreed and said that social media is bringing us closer to everyone in the world.
It may be true that the internet has allowed us to create a smaller world and to come together and communicate on a global scale with ease. At what price though?
The other day we passed by a local eatery that we frequent on occasion. There was a line of traffic on the road in front of us so we were stopped directly across from the restaurant’s entrance.
It was a Saturday and very busy. People were waiting outside to have their names called when a table was available. To our astonishment, each one of the dozen or so people who was standing there had a hand-held device and was totally engrossed in whatever they were reading or searching for. They were all standing together and yet no one was talking to each other! Everyone was looking down at their devices. These very same people who send emails, texts and Facebook posts communicate freely on their devices, however, when they are standing right next to one another, they don’t know what to say!
This is just one of countless incidents that we have witnessed where people in public, who are undoubtedly with family or friends in supposed social situations, have literally ‘checked-out’ from where they are physically.
A while back we wrote about this same subject and how technology is adversely affecting parent/child relationships. The effect is the same no matter who is involved and the questions we must ask are ‘Is technology a substitute for love?’ and ‘Is technology destroying our capacity to genuinely connect with each other?’
Social media and gadgets have their place and do serve a positive purpose. However, they also appeal to and enhance dysfunctional behavior by a world population that is increasingly voyeuristic and at the same time increasingly isolated from real physical, personal relationships and social interaction.
Yes, the world is smaller because of technology. It is also becoming a haven for people, who in their lifetime, will experience little, if any, healthy relationships, real communication and genuine intimacy.
If you’re a baby-boomer like we are, then you may recall a movie in the 1970s called ‘Sleeper.’ It was written, directed and starred Woody Allen. In it, Allen is transported to a futuristic society where he discovers many oddities. Among them is a machine called an Orgasmitron. This machine allows you to have a sexual encounter without even having a physical partner.
We know what you’re thinking, so let’s keep it ‘clean!’ The point is, how far-fetched is the idea of having technology replacing love? Will the genuine human need, desire and drive for interpersonal interaction become obsolete?
As Relationship Coaches, we have heard stories from clients about marriages ending and breakups occurring through text-messaging. We’ve been told by clients about being terminated from their job via email by a boss who was in the same room at the time.
To us, this is indicative of a society that is particularly out-of-touch with its’ emotions and its’ ability to have truly mature relationships.
Now, more than ever, it is so important to be willing to participate in the world of face-to-face interaction. If you believe that technology is going to fulfill your every want, need and desire then you are deluding yourself and will end up very disappointed.
Perhaps in this moment you are struggling with a particular relationship. Or maybe, you feel like you lack the communication skills to express your true feelings. It may also be possible that you are using technology as an escape from a not so pleasant life situation.
You may also be using social media as a way to get attention; which is another way of saying ‘to feel love and approval.’
No matter what roles technology, the internet and social media play in your life, there is a very strong probability that you are over-indulging for a variety of emotionally unhealthy reasons.
Here are some tips that may assist you to use technology less and in healthier ways:
1. If technology usage is work or career-related then keep it focused on the task or project at hand.
Set parameters for yourself when you will and will not use technology. For example, we consciously keep all technology off for 24 hours on Sundays and we don’t miss it!
2. Turn technology off when you are in the company of others, especially loved ones. Learn how to give more attention to the people you love than some inanimate hand-held device.
3.Power down technology at least one hour before bedtime. Instead, read a book, listen to music, have a conversation with your spouse or better yet, just have sex!
From our perspective there is good news. Technology cannot and will not replace our desires to experience authentic human contact and love.
Yes, technology has brought us closer globally and that’s great! It has also given us a real sense of who and where we are as a society and has shed the spotlight on a real social problem: that most people live in avoidance of and isolation from emotional interaction.
Technology is hitting us all in the face by demonstrating that what we want most of all (to love and be loved) is what we fear the most.
No machine can ever give you what you or another person can give you. Take the time to honestly look at your relationship with technology. Is technology a substitute for love in your life?
To learn more about us and to receive guidance about love, marriage, divorce and how to create healthier, happier relationships in your life, connect with us here.
5 thoughts on “Is Technology Replacing Love?”
ahhhh, great article. I think there are both pros and cons to technology in relationships. Maybe more cons, but definitely pros. I don’t have to worry about getting in touch with my kids or them not being able to call me if they needed me. I can also just send “thinking of you” or “I love you” texts during the day to them when I know they can’t take a phone call. Same with my husband – he works over night and can’t take phone calls, but I can text him and let him know I am thinking of him. On the flip side, kids these days don’t know how to ask for each other on the phone when parents answer because they all have their own numbers. As a parent, you have no idea who your kids are calling or texting or what is being said in those texts. Younger people have a hard time in conversation because everything is said by text. And having a date or quiet night alone is more difficult because the urge to answer a text can interfere with face to face time with the person you are with. It’s hard to “shut off” from the world of technology – including Facebook. If you know how to use these things to your advantage, good for you! But our generation has experience without these things so we can walk away. The younger generation doesn’t know any better – I worry about them. The other concern is dating by text…I see so many young girls who are “talking” to a new boy – all by text. They meet at a party, or through a friend and then they “talk” to get to know eachother – but most of it is done by texting. They are missing out on body language cues, etc – all things that are important to truly get to know someone
Great points Trish, pros and cons. It will be interesting to see what happens with the younger generation. Will they loose the ability to community or even write. We heard one story of a teenager who applied for a job using all ‘text talk’ on the application such as LOL, OMG and BTW, etc. The potential boss couldn’t even read the application. We shall see, time will tell.
There are many facets to an individual and it has been frustrating to me to find work.
Resumes and websites require the appropriate keywords to get hits which may or may
not lead to employment. I recently spoke to someone who was hired as a project manager
for a pharma company without a college education. The hiring manager saw how she worked
and knew that she would be an asset to the company. We all need to take time to get to know
each other face-to-face. We may be missing out on hiring the best person for the job.
Hi Jean, thanks for your input. You point out a very important aspect about email, texting and social media! It’s important to get to know each other face-to-face. Especially when it comes to the work place. So many people are hired and even fired via the internet. We have even heard stories of people being fired via email by a boss who was sitting across the room. May times people us email and technology to avoid confrontation too.