Too Much of a Good Thing

January 13, 2010
How many texts have you sent today? Take a wild guess. Now, get ready for this: A thirteen-year old girl, here in America, sends 36,666 texts every day.
Well, get ready for more, because according to a poll taken on Spin, the average 13-17 year old sends over 1,700 texts per month! People are starting to wonder if the excessive use of technology, such as texting, in modern society is helping our social skills or destroying them. The answer could very well be that yes, technology is wounding our ability to interact in a world where privileges like texting do not exist.

It has been proven by many that communication sources like the internet, for example, actually hurts your psychological health. A recent study by Carnegie Mellon University states that, “Internet use leads to small but statistically significant increases in misery and loneliness and a decline in overall psychological well-being”(Alfonso 1). Is it possible that this statement is true? It certainly could be! If you were to be immersed in a world with no healthy interaction with other people, it is definitely possible one would feel lonely and depressed. It can also be said that for some, “…the main appeal of the iPod is that it preoccupies you so you are no longer obligated to interact with the uncontrollable factors of life”(Song 1). The truth is, many people use the internet, texting and the iPod to get away from their personal problems. The question we are now asking is that, is this a bad thing?

As it was said before, technology is just a way for people to hide insecurities and a shy personality. For example, “The internet can foster openness, self confidence, and a great sense of ease and comfort in dealing with others”(Coget 1). Does this sound at all familiar? Many people find that the “Internet can even provide opportunities by freeing those who are too depressed to conduct social life in the real world”(Coget 1). It is almost as though the computer and cell phone screen is a mask to hide our faulty appearances and internal insecurities. However, this will lead to people relying on the internet and cell phone to create a life for them, instead of encouraging people to face their insecurities and overcome their social weaknesses, which is necessary to a happy life.

Today, with the inventions of texting, facebook, and iChat, it seems that technology is discouraging face-to-face interaction between people. Now, when you ride the bus, or go walking down an ordinary city like Manhattan, you see people with their nose in their blackberry or lost in their music playlists. Nowadays, “…people turn to their technological devices instead of attempting to make a new acquaintance”(Song 1). A recent poll taken of 169 people in Pittsburg during their first year or two online proved that they were, “Reported keeping up with fewer friends”(Affonso 1) So you see, the irony of the situation is, that even though devices like the internet and cell phone are supposed to “open doors for communication”, the only doors they end up opening are the doors to a toxic world of cyber space. The fact of the matter is, that the world of iPods and facebook are not real. These things were invented and the materialistic effects most likely were never meant to last forever. This is why it is important to make the effort to engage in real life relationships that will last forever.

Although some may argue that, “One’s social circle can be considerably expanded”(Coget 1), they are assuming that firstly, everyone’s social circle will expand, which is hasty generalization. Secondly, since when has be-friending online strangers been safe? I’m not sure about you, but I grew up with the knowledge that making friends online can be dangerous. Some people believe that the “iPod acts to bring people together”(Harris 1). Jen Harris, writing for the Yale Daily News, reports that there are “social events” called iPod parties! Think about this though- just because everyone is gathering around with their music blasting, doesn’t necessarily mean that people are socializing. This also could be an example of hasty generalization- just because this event works for some, doesn’t mean that everyone will find this event to be social. I might also caution you that in “Electronically meditated communication that hides or camouflages physical appearances and social identity, one tends to be more communicative and revealing of personal information” (Coget 1). Who said that revealing personal information is right?? Having the whole world know what your favorite color is, and even worse, where you live can get sticky. This is why we have friends. Friends are people who truly know us without having to “befriend” us on facebook.

The excessive use of technology in modern society is slowly causing our social skills to deteriorate. For one, it hurts our well being because of the isolation and a lesser great of a need to interact in real world situations. Secondly, technology can be a fast and easy way to leave troubles behind you. Except that’s just it-you are leaving your problems, not solving them. And perhaps most importantly, technology is discouraging face to face interaction between people. Please take in to consideration what will happen if human beings become isolated creatures living in billions of worlds within just one-the real world, our world. So, you can become immersed in a world that doesn’t exist, or direct your life and become who you want to be. It’s between you and the “on” button. The choice is yours.

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