PERSPECTIVE: Technology Limits Interaction

By Amelia Krauss, News Editor

Several years ago a hurricane battered my hometown of Naples, Fla., knocking the power out for days. Lights flickered off, air conditioning stopped humming, TVs stopped working and computers and cell phones stopped charging.

As the ominous clouds cleared and the winds calmed, the power lines lay lifeless. While inside things were dark and dead, outside, life bloomed and flourished.

People found comfort in the fresh outdoor air and the presence of pleasant company. Neighbors who had not talked in years gathered on front porches catching up on life, while children who usually spent their time cooped up inside playing video games climbed trees, played tag and used their imaginations together.

The neighborhood buzzed with life in a way it had not in years.

But the second the power kicked back on, the chatter of the friendly neighborhood quickly ceased as families filed back indoors into the comfort of their electricity-driven, technology-ridden homes. In a split second, the conversations ended and the neighborhood was deserted. Technology called our names, and we answered obediently.

This story is a clear indicator that our generation has become a slave to technology. Our very lives depend on it, and our hands and feet are bound by its heavy chains. Whether it is our favorite TV shows, our Facebook pages or our cell phones, the technology we claim to use as a tool has become our master. The thought of living without it is unbearable.

But technology is not our life-giver. We will survive the day without our cell phones. We can maintain friendships without checking our Facebook accounts every three seconds. And believe it or not, life does go on even if the TV stays off.

While the modern world will tell us these technologies are catalysts for community, it is evident that our dependence upon these technologies can actually serve to distance us from others. In our attempt to be in many different places at once, we actually find ourselves nowhere at all.

While much of the technology we use daily is intended to bridge the gap between different groups of people, it can also send us into our own internal worlds and widen the chasm between us.

The story mentioned previously is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Rather than fostering relationships with the neighbors who live 10 feet from us, we find ourselves wrapped up in a virtual world with friends we do not even know.

Rather than encouraging children to explore the world of their imaginations, we allow them to engage in a world within their television screens. And rather than doing something as simple as sitting around the table for a meal with our families, we find our hands glued to our phones and our minds somewhere else.

It should not have to take a hurricane to get us to step outside the confines of our technology-driven homes to delve into meaningful relationships with others. It could be as simple as hitting the power button on the remote control, logging out of Facebook and turning our cell phones on silent.

While such actions will not necessarily change the course of the modern world, they may help us learn to better appreciate face-to-face human interaction and real, genuine human relationships with our neighbors and friends.

About Cardinal & Cream 1009 Articles
The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.