Human Connection: The Next Fading Trend?

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One of the biggest trending topics on social media today is that technology, by in large has taken over. That as a society we are facing a new challenge, one that we have never encountered before; we no longer interact with each other, we no longer share our thoughts, feelings and emotions like we used to, and it’s all because we are addicted to the worldwide web.

We wake up hungry for our fix; we mainline Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and whatever else our hungry little minds are yearning for all before we have even said good morning to our partners rousing next to us. Walk past any café, restaurant or bar and you will see people, heads down, eyes mesmerised by the glowing lights of smart phones. Instead of making conversation with the person sitting opposite them they enthralled with the endless pages of scrolling opportunities presented to them in the neat 10cm x 2cm packages.

Man has always held a fascination with machines; it’s in our nature to want to learn and discover new things, that’s the reason why we are at the top of the food chain. But our most recent inventions seem to have come with a hefty price tag, leaving us distanced from each other.  Our constant communication through texting and emailing removes from us of our natural social cues, and the fundamentals of human interaction. “Technology can hinder us by over-representing analytical skills and textual communication rather than eye contact, physical contact, silence, reflection, and rich and deep one-on-one communication,” [1]

Is technology changing not only the way that society interacts with each other, but is it also changing the way that we are treating each other? With anxiety, depression and suicide rates in Australia higher than in the past[2] could this be in part due to the ease in which we find ourselves able to ignore, delete and block people from our lives; never actually having to deal with real-life situations or conversations is therefore leading to breakdowns in personal relationships. Technology and in particular social media can make people feel isolated, especially the younger generations who have never known the world without online profiles. Being connected online can sometimes be more important than being connected in the real world.

This is a thought that some may not have considered, our younger generations have never known a world without the Internet. This means that they have had to constantly manage an online profile for themselves as well as manage growing up in a world that is teaching them that technology is more important than the art of conversation with another human being. A distressing thought. “People in the 21st century are alone. We have so many new ways of communicating, yet we are so alone.”[3] Living in the online space leaves no room for living in reality, which in turn leaves no room for creating and sustaining stable and loving relationships. Parents, teachers and even those who struggle to find time away from their computer screen need to make time for real-life human interaction; it’s a key step to overcoming this technological over-powering that is destroying the links to a happy family.

The lost art of human connection doesn’t need to be so. Those with a memory of what the world used to be like without all these fancy things just needs to remember to teach the younger generations how amazing the real world is, how to speak with their bodies and the use art of real conversation, not just through texting. Connection is what bonds people together. It’s the emotions like sadness, anger, grief, happiness, joy and love that cannot be expressed through technology that make us human. Sending a quick text, a fleeting email or an emoticon to communicate that you love somebody comes a poor second to having somebody you love say it to you in person.

The next time you are on the tram and your journey seems long and arduous and you have time to kill, don’t automatically reach for your phone; try striking up a conversation with the person sitting next to you, you never know where that conversation might lead you. Don’t miss what is happening right before your eyes because you are lost in a world that isn’t real. Besides the Internet is only reporting back on what has happened in the world today, so why don’t you open your eyes and see for yourself! The most important thing to remember is to talk to loved ones, talk to friends, and talk to strangers, just talk — in real-life, because we need to remember that while technology may be here to stay, the art of human connection may be the next fading trend.

[1] http://www.techradar.com/au/news/world-of-tech/future-tech/is-technology-making-us-less-human–1171002/2 – articleContent

[2] http://www.responseability.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/7991/Suicide-Overview-of-suicide-in-Australia.pdf

[3] https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/06/social-networking.aspx

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