Look around. Technology is everywhere. It has influenced our lifestyle, for better or worse, and totally transformed the way people communicate.
There are two schools of thought on how technology has impacted communication.
There are the people who feel that it has broadened their horizons, and helped them stay in touch with family and friends, particularly those at a distance.
Case Study 1. (Let’s just call him N.)
N. is a Gen Y university student. He studies via distance education, and interacts with lecturers and fellow students mostly through online forums or email.
N., like all his friends, has a mobile phone. He rarely makes calls though, preferring to make contact by text or Facebook. He keeps in touch with out-of-town friends through Skype.
His days are spent studying, or surfing the net on his laptop, listening to music through his headphones, and watching TV… all at the same time.
Although he expresses himself well in written form, he is uncomfortable in situations where he actually has to speak to people, particularly strangers.
For him, communicating via technology is the norm.
And then there are those who think technology has reduced face-to-face contact, and could result in social awkwardness, even social isolation. (Kazmeyer, n.d.)
Case Study 2.
C. is a Baby Boomer and the father of a Gen Y.
Although he owns, and uses, a mobile phone, he avoids texting, choosing to make calls and speak to people instead.
At home, he prefers to use the land-line, which he keeps connected “in case of emergencies”.
He would prefer to have all electronic devices switched off at mealtimes, so that the family can talk to each other. He is usually overruled.
For him, technology is a necessary evil, but is also a hindrance to what he considers “real” communication.
There is no escaping that using technology for communication is now an important part of our way of life. It can save time, and reach out to a global audience quickly and efficiently.
Even official bodies such as the Queensland Police Service are using social media to communicate information and issue emergency updates to a wider population (Cenere et al, 2015, pp. 54 & 59).
The possibility of physical social isolation could be a problem though, particularly with Generation Y and Z. Maybe
we they need to “step away from the devices” more often, leave cyberspace, and “face” the real world.
Anastasiou, N. (Illustrator). (2017). Gen wifi [digital image]. Anastasiou Family Private Collection.
Anastasiou, L. (Photographer). (2017). N multitasking [digital image]. Anastasiou Family Private Collection.
Cenere, P., Gill, R., Lawson, C., & Lewis, M. (2015). Communication skills for business professionals. Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press.
Kazmeyer, M. (n.d.). Negative Effects of Technology. Retrieved from https://www.techwalla.com/articles/negative-effects-of-technology-on-communication