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Addicted to Being Connected


Submitted By brianna97
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Addicted to Being Connected
Take a look around you, whether you are alone in your room, sitting in a classroom, or at work. Now, try to imagine a world without all your important apps on your smartphone. You wouldn’t be able to listen to your favorite songs on YouTube or Tweet about that awesome party you went to the night before. Technology is ever where, and there is no way to escape it. Smartphones, computers, social media and texting have become an asset to everyday human interactions.
You touch a screen and reach someone presumed ready to respond, someone who also has a phone in hand. As time goes by you start to feel anxious because no one has replied to you. Technology negatively affects us by perpetuating the mindset of immediate satisfaction. The creation of various portable technological devices has slowly ingrained the idea of instant gratification. With gadgets like the iPhone or the Samsung Tablet, users are allowed to play games anywhere, update their Facebook status or email back their co-worker. These mobile devices allow us to keep in touch virtually everywhere and at any time. We grow up learning that whenever we want pleasure or enjoyment, it will automatically be granted to us. “And what I've found is that our little devices, those little devices in our pockets, are so psychologically powerful that they don't only change what we do, they change who we are.” Conversations take place in real time and so you cannot control what you’re going to say. “So, the bottom line is texting, email, posting, all of these let us present the self we want to be. We get to edit and that means we get to delete, retouch… not too little, not too much, just right. Human relationships are rich and messy. We clean them up with technology,” says Turkle. This way, she says, we are sacrificing conversation for connection. “We use conversations with each other to learn how to have conversations with ourselves. So a flight from conversation can really matter because it can compromise our capacity for self-reflection. For kids growing up, that skill is the bedrock of development.” (Turkle)
The Internet actually detracts from the communication abilities of society, especially the young. When our communication skills are gradually lessened, we begin spending less time talking to families, experiencing more daily stress, and feeling more lonely and depressed. In our formative teen years, lack of personal communication due to excessive Internet usage can have an overall negative effect on mental and physical health. Communication skills are critical for everyone, yet use of the Internet is undermining this development.
Over time, a new style of being with each other becomes socially sanctioned. In every era, certain ways of relating come to feel natural. In our time, if we can be continually in touch, needing to be continually in touch does not seem a problem or a pathology but an accommodation to what technology affords. It becomes the norm.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. The most successful tech products have one thing in common, they’re addictive. We are addicted to being connected. We live in a state of waiting for connection. Now, technology makes it easy to express emotions while they are being formed. We accept more from technology then we do each other. When we feel lonely we text our friends. When we experience something exciting we post it on Facebook. We are never alone.
These days, those phones in our pockets are changing our minds and hearts because they offer us three gratifying fantasies. One, which we can put our attention wherever we want it to be. Two, that we will always be heard, and three, that we will never have to be alone. And that third idea, that we will never have to be alone, is central to changing our psyches. Because the moment that people are alone, even for a few seconds, they become anxious, they panic, they fidget, and they reach for a device.
I believe the advancement of technology has negatively impacted our social interactions because it detaches us from what is happening around us, obstructs communication, and spreads the concept of instant gratification. Society must be able to utilize technology while not allowing it to impede social interactions, particularly for those who are easily influenced during our formative years. Our world must learn to embrace technology without allowing it to negatively impact the creation of functional adults in society.

Works Cited

Turkle, Sherry. “Connected, but alone?” Feb 2012. TED Talks: Ideas Worth Sharing. Sept. 2015.

Johnson, Chandra. "Face Time vs. Screen Time: The Technological Impact on Communication." Face Time vs. Screen Time: The Technological Impact on Communication. 29 Aug. 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.
Turkle, Sherry. "Growing up Tethered." Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. 175. Print.

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