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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

A Goodman is Hard to Find: Addicted: the trials of technology and social interaction

Published: November 18, 2011
Section: Opinions

The world has openly embraced technology. Technology allows us to explore the galaxies, keep friends updated on what we’re doing and talk without speaking. Thanks to texting, cell phones, social networking and the other ways in which we now communicate, technology has shifted the way humans express themselves. People have become numb to emotions, lack basic social skills and have no compassion for others.

Recently, I went on a trip to British Columbia, Canada, and was deprived of phone and Internet access for the duration of my visit—the international fees were not worth it. During this trip, I realized how much I personally—and society as a whole—am dependent upon and addicted to technology. It was during this trip that I fully realized how much the ways people interact with each other have changed and the extent to which this redefinition has limited social interaction and changed the dialogue in human social interaction.

Thanks to communication via the Internet and social networking sites, basic interaction and social skills within our generation have been altered noticeably. Contrary to popular belief, awkward social interactions are not limited to Brandeis. It’s always been easier to send an e-mail or write on someone’s Facebook wall than to pick up the phone and call them. My iPhone is my constant connection to the world. I admit that I check my Facebook numerous times per day and send thousands of text messages.

I have even, inadvertently and as a result of this technology overload, adopted new slang and dialogue with terms and emoticons like “lol,” “jk,” “:)” and the more expressive “;)”. I like to stay connected with my friends whether I’m just saying hi or making plans to hang out.

During my two-week vacation to Canada, I was forced not to use my phone. The cellular service provider was different and as a result the prices were dramatically raised. I felt absolutely lost. I had no way to talk to my friends or check my Facebook. I walked a mile to 7-Eleven to buy a calling card so I could phone my best friend.

It wasn’t until we moved locations to Victoria, where I had access to a computer, that I realized how much I depend on my iPhone to connect with the outside world. I had thought I wasn’t one of those people addicted to Facebook or always texting on their phones but I was wrong—I have become one of them. The new generations of computer savvy, technologically adept people like me are reducing face-to-face interactions. The way in which we communicate ideas, feelings, news and information will continue to become restricted by this massive decrease in human interaction.

Our emotions have run dry and lifeless; basic social skills are unknown because kids haven’t been forced to use them. Compassion has become scarce, resulting in bitter and mean people.

I do admit that the increase in technologically driven communication has helped to connect us, has made information more accessible and has influenced us with diversity from different cultures.

No matter how big or small, however, human interaction is necessary as human beings living in a civilized society.