The other night, I was laying in bed watching Netflix on my laptop. I got up to go downstairs to get something to eat. On my way down, I passed my brother, who was on his Xbox. I passed my mom, who was watching TV. And lastly, I passed my sister, who was watching youtube videos on her laptop with headphones in. Each person was in a different room, doing different things, on different pieces of technology. This saddens me. A simple Friday night when we were all home, but each doing something different with no social interaction with one another. This leads me to a simple question: Is technology affecting our social relationships? And the answer is yes.
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Technology is great. It allows us to do so much. But it is also crippling us. It's crippling our ability to socialize with one another. We've become so dependent upon our phones and devices and social media outlets that we've forgotten what it's like to sit around and conversate with each other.
I've noticed that when I go out with my friends, whether it's to get food or sitting around someones house. There will be moments when we're all sitting on our phones, not talking or enjoying each other's presence. It's not just my friends and my age group, but kids younger than us, people older than us and even adults. Millennials are constantly plagued by the phrase "Your generation is so spoiled and you're all constantly on your phones". This is not exactly the case. I believe a lot of adults are just as obsessed with technology as some teenagers are.
Kids who were born post 2000 are the ones who will be affected by the technology craze. A lot of those kids grew up with devices in their hands. You go to restaurants and see parents hand their small children phones and iPads to keep them busy. When I was little, this did not happen. We sat there and talked to our family or whoever we were with. We were well behaved and listened because we didn't want to get in trouble when we got home. Still to this day my parents do not allow any phones or devices at the dinner table. And although it irritates me sometimes, I understand why they do it and I'm thankful that they do.
Studies show that social skills are something that must be practiced. So in order to feel comfortable and confident socializing in a public setting, one must 'practice' socialization. This practice typically occurs from as early as when you start speaking, up until your teenage years and beyond. However, today's generation is constantly on their phones and the social skills that are needed in this world are not being put to the test.
So is technology affecting our social relationships and our ability to socialize with those around us? Answer for yourself. Take a look at your own life. Take a closer look at how often you're checking your phone and how often you catch yourself on your phone. But take an even closer look at where you find yourself on your phone. Is it when your with your friends? Is it when you're on a date? Or is it when you're by yourself? Or at family gatherings when you should be spending time with your relatives? No matter when or where, there is always room to cut back and enjoy the world around you. The world has so much to offer. So lift your head, and look around; you never know who or what you might encounter.