There has been much debate about technology, specifically whether or not it improves our quality of life. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter which side of the argument you are on. Whether you are for or against it, technology will inevitably impact many important aspects of your life.
One such area is your relationships. In this article, we will peer into the positive and negative effects that technology has on relationships. We will also discuss a few practical measures that can be taken to ensure that you get the most out of your specific circumstances.
A Fine Foundation for Friends
Most likely, you know someone who simply does not agree with the form of communication that technology offers. Many who socialize online are labeled as antisocial in real life, but is that the case?
As explained by Robert Weiss, a counselor in Los Angeles and co-author of Closer Together, Further Apart: The Effect of Technology and the Internet on Parenting, Work, and Relationships, technology has given us a wider range of opportunities to communicate, build, and maintain relationships, whether they be personal or work-related.
Also, Keith Hampton, Ph.D., an associate professor of communication and public policy communication at Rutgers University, says the following: ”Our findings are very clear and consistent, that users of social networks tend to have more close relationships, not just online, but in real life.”
Keith Hampton discovered that, compared to other internet users, Facebook users had 9% more people with whom they could discuss and disclose important information.
Such individuals are also exposed to various platforms to find support, where friends may offer positive and valuable opinions. In some instances, arrangements are made to provide physical help or relief. Technology enables a person to find quick answers and receive any type of assistance necessary.
Those who use forms of instant messaging also enjoy close friendships. A recent survey found that 80% of teenagers admit to feeling more connected with their friends’ lives, and 70% are more aware of their emotional state.
Forming or Failing Families?
One of the most important aspects of our lives is our family. Because technology has comfortably sat itself down in almost all of our homes, it will most definitely influence our relationships within our families.
As we have seen, technology allows us to stay connected. For husbands or wives who work abroad or distant relatives, instant messaging applications are of the utmost value.
Not only can you have an ongoing conversation with anyone at any time, but you can even sit face-to-face and include someone in a memorable experience using applications such as Skype or Zoom.
A Word of Caution
Technology does indeed offer many benefits, particularly in staying connected to those whom we love most. But as Shakespeare said, ”Virtue itself turns to vice being misapplied.”
In plain English, this means that too much of a good thing is bad. Yes, the same thing used to bring family and friends closer to each other can cause separation.
One of the major issues that arise when it comes to using technology is the concept of multi-tasking. Many think that they can have meaningful discussions and be fully engaged in an experience while using their device at the same time. Unfortunately, as stated by sociologist Sherry Turkle, ”our performance degrades for each new task we add to the mix.”
So what can result from this vice? Commonly found amongst youngsters is social media addiction. At this point in their lives, teenagers want to feel accepted by their peers and the world, and they want to fit in more than at any other time, so having a digital profile is simply a must-have.
Their dependency on this profile can overrule any importance of their real-self. Often, that which you choose to portray on the Internet about yourself is not always 100% accurate. This is dangerous because it can blur the line between your digital personality and real-life personality. Any negative feedback you will receive can take a heavy toll on your real-self, including your mental and emotional health.
Technology may even prove to be a danger amongst families, whether they were experiencing problems or not. Because the internet is available to anyone at any time and offers a display of nearly anything you are interested in, it can awaken and entertain inappropriate desires, leading to major issues such as porn addiction.
This addiction easily leads to infidelity, which is shown to contribute to almost 60% of divorces. This can wreck a marriage, and in turn, even families. Not only do others suffer, but the one addicted may develop other unhealthy habits that lead to mental and emotional distress.
Maintain the Virtue of Technology
Let’s take a look at 3 practical steps that will help you make the most of technology regarding any type of relationship.
Unfortunately, this is not something that comes naturally. With our busy lives and endless distractions, making sure you get done what is most important can be challenging.
But the benefits far outweigh the challenges. You will never regret taking the time to sit down and think about how your use of technology could be best applied. Not only will this help you to build and maintain a meaningful relationship, but it will also help you to optimize your internet use when you do use it.
Prioritizing will offer you the luxury of time you otherwise thought was impossible to obtain.
Who can resist opening up notifications from that special someone, checking the latest gossip of your idol, keeping up to date with intriguing world news reports, or watching your favorite series the instant it’s released?
We could all do with a bit more self-control. Then again, it’s easier said than done. But what’s the use of making an effort to prioritize if you don’t put your plan into action? Instead of optimizing your use of time, you’d be wasting it even more than before.
So how can you apply step number 2? Self-control is only needed once you’re in a specific situation, so try to imagine some possible scenarios beforehand that would put your self-control to the test. Think about the what’s, when’s, and where’s, and then how you would handle the situation.
3. Leave Work at Work
This can be especially difficult if you work from home. But just as you give your full attention to your job during working hours by not bringing your family to work, give your family the full attention they deserve by not bringing your work home.
During its allocated time, your job rightly deserves your time and energy. You wouldn’t give anything less, whether you’re working for an employer or yourself.
Not using your work hours to the fullest can be seen as robbing your employer or yourself of time and money, so why would you deprive your family of that which they are entitled to?
Technology is designed to enhance your quality of life. However, depending on how you use it, it can strengthen your relationships or enslave you to its use.
Prioritizing, self-control, and leaving work at work will help you master its use so that it becomes your servant and not your master.