Technology and Relationships: Not a Good Match

Aaliyah Khan, Opinion Editor

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Whether it be in school, work, or home, chances are that you will see someone fixated with their personal device. It is scary to think of how much technology has taken over our lives and how much we are addicted to our gadgets.

Today, it is almost impossible to know of anyone who doesn’t have their own phone, tablet, or laptop, and people are so obsessed with their devices that it is hard for them to not look at them for an extended period of time. Sound familiar? This maybe you.

The fact of the matter is that we are addicted to technology.  It is like an “electric drug” that pulls us away into another world. And just like any other addiction, technology takes us away from others and hurts relationships.

According to Alex Lickerman, a psychologist and writer for Psychology Today, “We may enjoy online relationships using social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, for example, but the difference between these kinds of interactions and interactions with people in the physical world is clearly vast…The problem, however, comes when we find ourselves subtly substituting electronic relationships for physical ones or mistaking our electronic relationships for physical ones. We may feel we’re connecting effectively with others via the Internet, but too much electronic-relating paradoxically engenders a sense of social isolation.”

One may think that technology helps people connect and form relationships, and that may be true, but only to an extent. Instead of forming real relationships, the increased use of technology causes surface-level connections between people. There is no real substance or bonds formed when people form relationships through technology.

According to an article headlined “Teens Are Over Face-to-Face Communication, Study Says” by Katy Steinmetz, a writer for TIME magazine, “Technology, like texting and social media, has made it easier to avoid forming substantive relationships in the flesh and blood.”

Using technology as most people do now could also cause us to get distracted easily while causing effects such as anxiety and depression.

According to the website Good Therapy, an organization that researches mental health, “Technology can also be a distraction when it is not in use. When briefly disconnected from their smartphones in a 2014 study, self-described heavy users indicated having higher anxiety levels than moderate users after just 10 minutes… Heavy use of social media has also been shown to negatively affect mental health.”

Good Therapy also cites a recent study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine which investigated depression rates in young adults, and found “…significantly increased odds of depression among those spending the most time engaged in social media.”

Some things are good in moderation, and the use of technology is not excluded from that. It is important to limit yourself when using devices as it could cause effects that you may not even realize.  So why not try to put down your cell phone awhile and spend some time in the real world?  Your phone will still be there when you get back.