Let’s face it, we all use technology. The fact that we’re reading from others on a blog is evidence to that fact. Jeanette and I use email as our primary communication method. It’s quick. It allows people to respond on their own time. And it doesn’t interrupt life the way a phone (especially a cell phone) does. As we’re getting used to all this technology, many people of older generations (mine included) are opposed to some of the movements among the younger crowd. Texting, facebooking, etc. They scare us. “It’ll reduce face-to-face interaction,” we say. “They’ll spend all their time in front of a screen,” we add. And it’s probably true — we’re spending more and more time in front of screens. “We didn’t spend that much time watching TV,” some would say. But the plethora of content on TV and the myriad of information available on the internet really makes that point irrelevant. There wasn’t all that much to see on TV back then. Now there is. And at first the internet wasn’t all that great either. Now it is.
And now those conveniences can fit in our pockets.
I have no doubt that the level of face-to-face interactions has gone down over the past fifty years. But the other day I had a thought — when the phone was introduced, what were the initial reactions? I can’t know for sure, but I can venture a guess: “It’ll be a time-saver,” would say the optimists. “It’ll limit interaction,” would say the pessimists. I have no doubt it did both. With each technological shift comes a backlash. From face-to-face we went to phones. Before that we had mail. Each time we lose a dimension of the conversation. With phone we lost the facial expressions. With letters we lost the tones, pitch, and emphasis of the human voice. With our current technology, we still lack the necessary dimensions to have a full conversation. Anyone trying to sort a problem out through email knows what I’m talking about.
At the same time, the phone and letter did not destroy human interaction. Email certainly hasn’t. Facebook won’t. Texting is incapable. We don’t need to be so afraid of these transitions. People will always need human interaction. No screen can replace that. The changes in technology are coming at a faster rate, and at some point we’ll all find ourselves a little behind the curve. If that’s the case, don’t fret! Human interactions will always rely on face-to-face relationships.
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