Has Technology Made Us Afraid to be Alone?

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Has Technology Made Us Afraid to be Alone?

by  Lusi Almanzar

 

There is no doubt that technology has completely changed the way humans interact. Technology has allowed humans to communicate with each other faster and easier than ever before. But has it negatively affected our social interactions as well?

The accessibility and instant gratification that comes with modern technology has almost completely obliterated the idea of solitude. Even when we are physically by ourselves, we are always, in someway, “connected” to other people, whether it be through texting, social media, or other platforms such as TV and Youtube.

I’ve frequently found myself unable to deal with silence. If I’m alone at home, I find myself turning the TV on in the background or putting on music or even a Youtube video. I’ve wondered why I’ve become so seemingly uncomfortable with pure silence and solitude.

In “The End of Solitude,” William Deresiewicz  discusses how solitude used to be a necessary part of life and allowed people to truly reflect and get to know themselves. “Man may be a social animal, but solitude has traditionally been a societal value.” Many people nowadays become uncomfortable from the silence because it forces them to reflect on themselves and face problems they may not want to. By having constant connection, it acts as a distraction and prevents people from ever truly knowing and understanding themselves or others.

Social media has also allowed people to create shallow social interactions. We see only what other people want to show about their lives. According to The New York Times article titled “Technology Is Not Driving Us Apart After All,” “Social media promises an end to loneliness but actually produces an increase in solitude and an intense awareness of social exclusion. Texting and other technologies give one more control over their social interactions but also lead to thinner interactions and less real engagement with the world.” In other words, technology allows us to communicate more, but with less real meaning and connection. This is seen today in something as simple as ordering food online rather than calling the restaurant, to something as serious as breaking up with someone over text rather than talk to them face to face.

We as humans don’t like to feel discomfort and will avoid it at all costs. However, discomfort and self awareness are necessary parts of life that help us to grow as individuals. It is uncertain to know how social interactions will continue to change overtime as new technology emerges. However, we as individuals now need to work harder to form meaningful relationships and get to know ourselves and have moments of meaningful contemplation.