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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.


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