Technology and Social Networking Have Made Us Antisocial Essay
Technology’s efforts today are supposed to make us feel more connected, however, we’re more alone than ever. We aren’t forming real, strong relationships with each other. It’s taking us to places we don’t want to go. People would rather text than have actual conversations, essentially creating this illusion of intimacy with young people. Sherry Turkle introduces the idea that these devices are meant to make us more social, more together, because when we aren’t connected we panic and our phones are meant to help us with that. The issue is it’s making people more isolated than ever.
Technology prevents us from forming real relationships. According to Burley, “teenagers' personal lives are also being affected negatively due to not as much face-to-face and physical contact with parents and friends, prompting shyness and weakening relationships.” People are losing those strong connections and forming superficial relationships through a screen. People use technology to create this sense of self and define that. Turkle brings up the idea of I share therefore I am. We share lots of things, such as what we’re thinking or how we’re feeling because humans are social animals. However, we become more isolated from ourselves. The idea of “I share therefore I am” constant connection changes other's views of themselves and those views are constantly changing. It gets to the point where people start no longer feeling like themselves.
It’s so much easier to text someone that there are no longer those important conversations. Yes, people can stay in touch more, but phones and other devices “keep us from the best of ourselves and others” (Coleman). It causes us to avoid others and creates an illusion of intimacy. We lose “the greatest gift you can offer another person is your ability to listen, to let that person feel that you are intent on what he or she is saying, that you have all the time in the world.” People are so focused on their phones that they forget the world around them. Although it may be something trivial, we’re still missing that because we’ve become so attached to a tiny device. Because we don’t pay attention to the small things and are constantly distracted, “you’re not open to these things, if you're too busy walking down the street glued to your phone and cut off from all that is around you, you're going to miss something.” We don’t notice the small things in life because we become dependant on our devices.
People use their phones and other devices for nearly everything. “Both hypertexting and hypernetworking are strongly associated with a range of poor health outcomes including substance abuse, sexual activity, absenteeism and fighting, according to a study printed in The Nation's Health in 2011” (Gowans). It gets to the point where teens are on their phones constantly and forget to unplug every once in a while. Most teens “send an average 60 text per day, with 20 percent of students reporting that they are hypertexters, sending more than 120 texts per school day. More than 11 percent of students reported spending 3 hours or more a day on social networking sites.” Many health concerns of technology stem from too much screen time. Today, most children “spend 50 percent less time outside than they did 20 years ago, Barlow says. Current estimates are that children average 1/2 hour of unstructured outdoor play per week.” As well as myopia, nearsightedness, “Between 1970 and 2000, myopia nearsightedness prevalence in the U.S. rose from 25 percent to nearly 42 percent among people ages 12 to 54” between 1970 and 2000. A likely possibility of this is because “kids are spending more time staring at screens up close instead of far off things outside, Barlow says.” According to a 2007 study, kids who spend more time outdoors are less likely to develop myopia.
On the other hand, there are some pros to staying connected. If someone has a relative who moved somewhere, technology makes it easier to keep in touch with them. It can also help people remember and share memorial moments through the use of photos, social media statuses/posts, etc. People may also use social media to communicate with others as a way to not be lonely. Being alone is an issue for most people because people love to socialize, however being alone is normal. People need alone time as a way to relax or “recharge.” Technology also has a major impact on a person’s dopamine levels. It creates this burst of happiness. It’s similar to drugs in a sense. People begin to crave this happiness caused by the dopamine in their brain, as a result, they become addicted or dependent on their phones or other forms of technology. According to Bailey, “the effects of excessive use of technology by teenagers has been proven to have a profound impact on the functions of the brain and body.” Besides being addictive to most teens and young people, “physical effects for technology include obesity, reduced physical capabilities, poor sleep habits and increased consumption of unhealthy foods. Side effects for mental health vary, however, these commonly include loneliness, depression, higher anxiety levels, internet addiction, and reduced time with family.” As well as physical activity is reduced by nearly 95%. Technology has a major impact on a teenager's life. This is causing teens to become more antisocial and creating false illusions of intimacy with people through a screen.
In conclusion, although the purpose of technology is to make us more connected, it’s making people more lonely than ever. People are forming this illusion of intimacy with people online and are losing those face to face connections, which are prompting shyness and weaker relationships in the real world. People are social animals and feel the need to find ways to connect and socialize with others without having to leave their rooms. We miss out on little things and become dependant on our phones for almost everything.