The Impact Of Technology On Human Relations

There was a time when people used to question technological advancements and were not willing to accept them wholeheartedly but now technology is not just widely accepted but very warmly welcomed too. Whenever there is a new innovation, people ask what is next, even before they have fully exploited the technological devices already available. I remember when I was a kid I used to find it almost unbelievable that there will be a day when we will have phones which will enable us to see the person we were having a conversation with. At that time it seemed far fetched but the rapid pace with which technology is advancing in the given age nothing surprises me and everything is believable. ( I am not sure what to write after this sentence *sigh* or *cheers*?)

When I was growing up there used to be one or not more than two landlines in one household. There was absolutely no concept of cell phones and when the cordless phone was introduced many families did not prefer it because they wanted to keep a check on their teenage kids especially. With the phone set in one specific place, it was easy for the parents to monitor who their kids were interacting with and how long the conversations lasted. The kids in those days had very little privacy and the grown ups had a lot of control. If a parent did not want his child to associate with someone they would just tell that person that the child was busy or not home until they stopped calling. The parents picked up from the children’s conversation what was going on in their lives and very often they ended up talking to their children about it. Now in the past 15 years or so things have changed drastically, everyone has a mobile phone, even school going children can’t do without them. What effect does it have? Parents feel more secure because if their child gets into trouble or if there is an emergency they can instantly reach them but look at the cons, many of the parents nowadays have absolutely no control over their children’s lives in terms of who they are talking to and what is going on their life, unless the child decides to talk to the parents about it. And how often does that happen? Not very often, because as a result of all the technological advancements children do not have time or patience for their parents. There is so much to occupy them from play stations, computers to iphones and ipads and need I mention facebook? Which is anything but a book but a whole new world of it’s own to which old and young alike are addicted. Children nowadays can have a day without saying hello to their parents but a day without facebook is unimaginable.

All the latest games whether they are on play station, Xbox or idevices are very engaging indeed and some of them are highly educational too but In my opinion they are nothing compared to the good old game of tag we used to play with out siblings and neighbors. When you sit and play a game on your device or Xbox, who are you connecting with? Virtual characters in a virtual world? A game of ball, tag or hide and seek used to connect the kids with their friends and siblings and gave them some unforgettable memories. And not to mention there were many lessons learned along the way. I am not saying that children do not play with their friends anymore but I know from personal experience and observation that the kids nowadays interact with their devices much more than they do with real people. Why is that? I think it is because it is human nature to stick to relations that are easy to maintain, while a human will not do exactly what you want them to do and may argue with you too but a device will follow your lead. If you are losing in a game, all one has to do is to restart it and there is no looking back. But if you are playing with a friend and you lose, then you lose and you learn lessons about life…you learn how to deal with things when they don’t go your way. I really believe that these devices have managed to attain what they aimed to achieve, which is, making life easier for those who use them. But my question is that if we keep on making our lives so easy than how will we deal with it when it gets difficult? Life is no game that can be restarted, our children need to learn to resolve their problems and to deal with difficult situations and this is only going to happen if they go out in the world and interact with real people. Yes, all kids go to school and they interact with real people there but I have seen many kids who are introverts in school, they keep to themselves until it is time to come home.

Enough about kids, technology seems to have engulfed grown ups just as much too and while it is great that people make so many new friends online through many social networking sites but have you ever felt that you maybe giving your online friends more time than the people living in the same house with you? Nowadays in many affluent households every member of the family has a laptop or any other device to keep them connected to the outside world but we seem to be using the devices given to us by nature less and less to interact with those around us. A chat with a sibling, your spouse or even your own child may seem cumbersome because you have to reply to all the facebook messages and check out the latest updates on all the sites you have registered too…there just aren’t enough hours in a day! So what exactly are the grown ups investing in too? Imagine a day without any of these gadgets in the house and not even the television, what would be the outcome? I am certain that the people living in the house will interact with each other more. When your little sister does not have Google or youtube to tell her what she needs to know about her history lesson she is bound to come to you for assistance and this is how relationships grow.

I must sound like I am anti technology, well honestly speaking no I am not, we have all the possible gadgets in the house that one can think of but it really makes me wonder sometimes that where are we headed? And where does it stop? The internet and the other devices help us in countless ways. I won’t be here talking to you in the first place if it wasn’t for the internet but there was once a time when these things did not exist and people still got by with life just fine. Everything has it’s pros and cons, we all know very well what the positives of technology are and I will not deny them but how many of us stop to reflect how technology has changed human interactions (in good and bad ways). Yes I emphasized on the negative impact of technology in this article because sometimes I do feel like I was just as happy with life before all these technological developments. Life was simple back when friends and siblings had to sit and think hard about how to keep ourselves occupied. When one could not understand history or science your father never turned on you tube for you but he sat down to explain things. I do miss those days and I wonder how life would have been if things were still the same!

Fatima Awan.

 

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of reviewit.pk or dramasonline.com.

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  • Sadaf H

    I feel you Fatima . People are so busy with their phones they don't actually interact with the people around them. I am beginning to think that some of the dysfunction and rising divorce rates may simply be due to a lack of interpersonal skills

    • FatimaAwan

      sadaf you are right, the excessive use of phones can actually cause stress and people don't have the patience for the people around them.

  • Aish

    🙂 🙂 🙂 i don't know my smile is a 'dukhi' one or a happy one that u feel exactly the same as i do. 5-6 years back there was a time when we all used to watch a sitcom and then a drama together. no 100channels were available so no one has another choice….. but thanks to the technological advancement…. we have 100 channels and 2-3 TVs and online viewing of dramas that no one bothers to sit together. dad watches news show i watch dramas, mum cooking shows, bro sports channels,,,,,,,,,,, sigh!
    i miss the time when there were no e cards but paper cards and letters, when there was no no blue tooth and MMS but paper developed pictures….. it was lovely to wait for postman to wait for pix to get developed to feel it…….. i hate this technological growth. though i have adopted them all to some extent but i would be more than happy if somebody takes all this away and brings me back good old times.

    • FatimaAwan

      You are absolutely right about the TV channels as well, we had to wait for hours to watch our favorite programs but now they are only a click away. I miss those times too:)

  • baacha

    v v v nice article fatima,i do miss those days and love those time when me and my sisters used to play in street with friends, we ve only ptv ,and we love to watch chacha ge' pink panther cartoon and sesam street show those were beautifull childhood days, and suddenly life is changed, we ve so many things for entertainments tv channels,net ,you tube ,face book etc etc, we spent so much time with this activity but dont know whats happening to our neighbourhood, even husband comes from job and sit on net ,not spend time with kids family…. kids ve no time for parents, technology is good but we r so much addicted to it, and going to loose our values

  • Mrs Asim

    I loved ur article Fatima:) but u know what…ye toa hona hi tha. I think nature works in mysterious ways. these modern children will also learn their lesson..may be in a harder way? nature teaches things anyways. I think responsibility is on our shoulders..we who have seen both time( simple and technological)or may belogical and technological:) .these kids dont much know how it could be,but we have seen it, so its our risposibility to give them shaur, we cant stop technology, we can make them realise the importance of human relations. I can say much about it since my thesis was on effects of text messaging on writing skills;)

    • FatimaAwan

      Thank you so much Mrs. Asim I was a little apprehensive about writing this piece but I am glad I did:) Such a good point you have raised, indeed it is the responsibilty of the parents to ensure that kids do not get too much exposure to these gadgets but it is fast getting out of the parents' control, don't you think? because all of these things are becoming an inseparable part of our lives now. wow that is an interesting topic to choose for your thesis , yes IMs are another nuisance. there was a time when we were not connected enough and now it is impossible to be disconnected from the outside world!

      • Mrs Asim

        g m saying the same thing ,because its impossible to controle it, we must educate them, if ur teenage girl is using internet,u must educate her,and ofcourse u would have to be open about it,secondly we must them best moral values, in order to do so we must first mend our own ways..if parents r using facebook 12 hours,they shudnt expect kids to be under controle. yes topic was good but my hypothesis proved wrong:) there were no negative effects of text msgng on writing skills.and it shows k naturally kids r able too to manage technology 🙂

        • FatimaAwan

          Oh right. That is true IM does not effect writing skills because IM is used to keep in touch with people & not do school work.

  • Mrs Asim

    or han ye facebook…yarr what is the point in telling everyone k what I ate today n where I went today n what gift I gave to my brother…I mean,bnda sochay k what is the purpose? kids are kids hain..they hear u less and see u more.

  • Roh

    Very well written, Fatima. I think the aspect of technology which is affecting personal life, is something to be concerned about. Like you said, kids have everything from xboxes to the wii to internet on their cell phones, yet I hear "I'm so bored" so often from them. We never had any of these, and we were never bored. Books, outdoor games, board games and we were grateful too. In this age of instant gratification through technology, each parent should pause for a moment and rethink what we are creating for our kids. And rectify it beginning in our homes.

  • saba

    i thnk we shuld b positive,technological innovation is very good bt its up to us nw hw we take it so no more to say just wanna say is be positive:-)

    • FatimaAwan

      Saba yes I agree with you there are two sides to everything & I am in no way saying that technological advancement has no positives.

  • baacha

    lovely article fatima ,it remind me of my childhood memories,when me my sisters used to play in street with friends,usted to watch chacha ge' pink panther show, life was so peacefull,i used to write letters to my friend and wait for postman ,we sent eid cards to our relatives,it was so beautifull feeling…miss that time alot, life is suddenly changed now so many new technology ve replaced old things, internet,face book,google you tube,etc etc…. we spend too much time on it but dont know whats going on in our neighbourhood,we ve tv in each room, laptop,every kid has his own mob, loosing our values,dont know what ll happend further

    • FatimaAwan

      Thank you baacha:) I am glad there are other people out there who miss those days. Sometimes i feel like our kids are missing out on the simple life. Even we the grown ups cannot do without it now because all of these things are quite addictive.

  • Roh

    Very well written, Fatima. A very good read, indeed. Its true that technology has made life beautiful in many ways, but has taken away a lot from family life. These days kids have all sorts of gadgets, and I still hear "I'm bored" even more from them. We didn't have any of these gizmos. Good old books, outdoor games, indoor board games – simple things and we never got bored.
    I think if we parents realise what the surroundings we are going to end up creating, if there is no balance between technology and the age old value of family time, we might be able to stop erosion of values.

    • FatimaAwan

      Roh glad you mentioned books. Books used to mean joy in my childhood too. every weekend our father would take us to the biggest bookstore in town and we were allowed to buy two books each, it used to be the highligh of the week. plus there used to be weekly children’s magazines we would get in our mail and we would read them twice before the next one came in (because there was no TV or internet to keep us busy), I still remember the stories i read back then and the lessons we derived from them. yes we as parents have to work hard to keep our kids connected with the real world and there are so many “distractions” that sometimes it seems like a difficult thing to do. You know my daughter’s best friend is a boy (she is 6) and all he talks about is superheroes lol and just today my daughter was asking me “mama why are all the superhereos boys” lol

      • Mrs Asim

        MASHALLAH she seems intellegent, its a fact that kids today r far smarter than us;)

        • FatimaAwan

          Mrs. Asim yes the kids nowadays no doubt are far ahead of the game. Which is very good too, aj kul smart logo ka hi zamana hai as long as they retain their values.

  • Azk

    I really loved your article Fatima!!! You are a 100% right about how family lives have been greatly impacted by these technological innovations. Of course everything comes with a price and in this case I think family values/time are challenged a great deal. I miss the 80's and 90's when we were growing up and I cherish all our childhood activities that we used to do with siblings, cousins and neighbors. You are right I wish our kids could have that simple life.
    I tell my mother that parenting has become more of a challenge for us thanks to the current technology. Our job as a parent is to make sure our kids don't spend too much time on tv, iPad and phones etc. My husband bought the Nintendo wii for my 5 year old son despite my opposition saying it's a family game and we can do constructive games etc. and my son started spending too much time on car racing everyday. He got too much involved into the video games and paid less attention to what I said (which was unlike him). And thank God his father noticed the same thing and now we are really limiting its use. I think with advent of these gadgets our responsibilities double more than ever. Although It's tough but we have to create a balance so that we can raise a generation that are not just computer or video game geeks but who are loving, caring and compassionate to their family, neighbors and the people around them.

    • FatimaAwan

      Azk you are so right. It is so great how every mom is adding something new to the discussion. There are days when these kids spends four five hours in front of the TV, computer or the idevices. You know some days when there is excessive loadshedding it is actually a good ( forced) break! These gadgets distract the kids. I also ensure that atleast three hrs a day are dedicated to playing with siblings or even me! Story time is the best way to keep them away from TV etc. the dads nowadays are so into gadgets too so the kids are sure to follow. My husband introduced my son to the idevices at the age of two & now he is 3 & can do everything I can besides using the internet (thank God!) i could never even imagine that a 3 year old could turn on the computer & put on his favorite show but these kids are so tech savvy. The school my daughter was going to did not allow the kids to attend certain classes without ipads or laptops starting from 6th grade! I don't know where we are headed!

      • Azk

        LOL Fatima I have the same situation at home with my two kids. I'm sure a lot of mothers can relate to this. You made a good point about load-shedding there ;so at least it has one positive point:) but we don't get to experience it here. Once we had a power outage due to a snow storm and kids were surprised that we could actually lose power so it was a good learning for them. Yes it is surprising that schools now require laptops but I guess we gradually have to accept the changes and who knows what's next for the generation after them. There is no stopping technology now:)

        • FatimaAwan

          Absolutely, let's make the most of it and continue working hard on the kids!

  • Azk

    LOL I agree Mrs Asim! Nowadays people like to publicize each and every single second of their life:)

  • Tooba

    Very good points were raised in article and comments………

  • anum

    realy love ur article

  • huma saleem

    owsme article!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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