Archives for technology and relationships
How satisfied are you with your appearance? Across the ages, norms of beauty have been set by cultures and passed down in the context of family, close community and friends. With time and technology, however, the setting of norms has changed and so has their impact.
In an earlier blog I considered the dangers of teens sleeping with cell phones. Specifically that the “ on call status” was in most cases not choice but obligation, anxious need, and even addiction. A recent article by Deborah Fallows in The Atlantic, entitled, “ Papa, Don’t Text,” invites us to consider the impact of cell phones on those too young to use them. Fallows asks us to consider the impact on babies and small children when the parent or caregiver is present but talking with someone else on a cell phone or present but silently texting.
Despite the warnings, our basic human courtesies are not likely to be eroded by smartphones, nor will they be salvaged by quickly decided Emily Post-type rules. Like other social norms, smartphone manners will likely evolve from the complex social group process underscored by the intellectual, physical,and psychological needs that drive us. There was a time when it was in good taste for a gentleman to reach across the dinner table to light a lady’s cigarette. Have you seen etiquette of that kind lately? A recent New York Times article reported on the behavior of attendees at the South by Southwest Interactive. In this arena, tech pros and professionals were reportedly on phones everywhere from the elevator to the dais. What is striking is that the appeal by one of the keynote speakers to put down the devices when interacting and give back the respect owed to each other was met with thunderous applause. More striking is the fact that within minutes -- everyone was back interacting with one eye on their phone and one thumb busy working!
A day before the announcement of the i-phone 4G, a New York Times article addressed the mental price of our involvement with technology. It reported that scientists are finding that the high use of technology -- e-mails, cell phones, i-pads, text messages, i-messages, blogs, tweets, internet alerts, facebook etc. bombard us with such an instant stream of information that they make us hyper-alert to new bits of information but less able to sustain focus on the task at hand. It suggests that technology can change how people think and behave. What about the impact of technology on relationships? Does the technology that matched you with your spouse, now keep you apart? Are you able to “be in the moment” with your partner without checking an e-mail or answering a call? Are text messages from your partner a welcomed hint of intimacy or a dreaded source of stress? Dr. Kimberly Young in her research on the addictive nature of online technology suggests that technology, like food, is an essential part of daily life – but necessitates moderation and controlled use.