CRISCIONE: New tech harms face-to-face interaction

Column: Digital Downfall

The expansion of technology and social media has entirely changed the way society functions. The change has impacted our interactions with society in a manner of ways. 

We have the ability to keep in touch with everyone in the world and express ourselves how we want to. At the same time, we have lost the ability to keep in touch with everyone and express ourselves.

We have a multitude of options when it comes to communication online or on platforms through texting or applications. This comes with an issue, though. There has been a drastic falling-out with face-to-face communication. In a social construct, we have gone backward.

This is less prevalent in older adults. Usually, the younger generation has a larger issue with communicating with people in reality.

I was at a family party this past weekend and had an older cousin approach me and say, “This.” He pointed to my phone. “This is what's going to destroy society. People and kids are now afraid to talk or create moments with the ones around them.” After he said this, I was a bit taken aback, but I understood completely. Of course it has become a cliche that older people are entirely against technology, but it still does raise issues in our world.

With the countless studies that are being done on the impacts of technology and media on people, we can say for certain that it does impact society in a number of ways.

The rabbit hole that is the evolution of technology goes deeper than people realize. In recent developments, we have grown to live online and move with the culture.

Since the beginning of time we have shaped our society to the technology around us. This has impacted the way we think and act in a number of ways, and even on a global standpoint not every country is on the same technological plan. The rise and expansion of social media has lead down a path of lackluster face-to-face communication.

I do not want to sound like I truly hate the growth of technology and social media, but at the same time we have become less self-aware of what is actually happening to our society from a socio-cultural perspective. 

New England College conducted a study about how we are impacted recently with this massive growth: “According to CNBC, even rejection no longer has the same emotional impact when an online algorithm can show you 50 or more possible compatible matches living less than 10 miles away. In many cases, people now choose to communicate almost exclusively through technology to avoid dealing with the reality of meeting in person.”

This quote reflects more on the dating scene that has also destroyed a lot of interactions between people, but it can demonstrate how we have slowly treaded away from meeting in person.

On the bright side, though, we have been given a number of technologies that have greatly helped society like Uber, Paypal and Amazon. These have completely shaped the way we function on a daily basis. The amount of accessibility we currently have is astounding. 

A taxi service that is less expensive and can essentially be used anywhere and everywhere, they even have a food delivery service with it. Paypal gave us the gift of safe online payments across the entire world. Amazon now essentially is a part of everyone's life.

This all does come at a cost, though. With these implementations, taxi services and many of those jobs have started to become obsolete since they are more expensive. Amazon has shaped the mail industry and provides brutal work environments for employees all for the customer.

With every advancement from social media, convenience apps and communication we lose a bit of ourselves. The trend of dehumanization is growing every day. Many “influencers” and frequent users of these technologies often state how dehumanized they have become. 

There comes a point when all of this detaches people from real life, and determining what is real and not can be difficult. At the same time, acknowledging the fact that we have a divide is needed.

We become what we do, and with the deep evolution of technology, we might not ever safely create a divide.

 Alexander Criscione is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in journalism and media studies. His column, “The Digital Downfall,” runs on alternate Thursdays.

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