BY DR MASIMBA MAVAZA, OPINION |The world has been made a bit easier by technology. Communication has become a finger away. This has obviously come with a heavy price.
Family life has been eroded people are glued on their phones the pads and their X BOXES. Families have become strangers to each other. Patents no longer know or even recognise their children’s voices. People are so glued on Facebook, twitter and social media has taken over social time.
Everywhere we look, every corner we turn, there it is social technologies. Texting, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google end the list goes on and on, seemingly growing without end. And we’re so immersed in it, sometimes we can’t see at least, beyond the end of our phones. Our necks are now accustomed to look down and on gadgets and the human touch has flown away. We have become a machine society.
In all this frenzy we have forgotten to ask what we are losing?” There’s always a balance to be maintained, so the truth of it is that for everything we gain, we also lose it to technology. We lose our warmth our humanity our being, our families and our children. Indeed families have lost their sexual lives to phones and televisions.
We are all guilty of occasionally being those persons who have to stop in the middle of the sidewalk to text or spending 10 minutes in the company of friends trying to get a photo just right before it goes up on Instagram.
In fact,our entire lifestyle wouldn’t be possible without technology. We are so conditioned to gadgets to an extent that we have become slaves of technology. Wives texts messages to their husbands to say good morning, children ask for a sleep over on whatsapp, and church pastor reads the bible from the phone. Watches are obsolete and life is virtually controlled by gadgets.
But for a second, let’s start to recognize the important things that are getting buried underneath the heap of social technology. Maybe if we can recognize it, we can work a little harder to keep it alive. Our children now long for a human touch. They long to sit around the table and chat with their parents. They long to hear the family tree from the parents. They no longer understand humanity.
Families can not share jokes and in any case of death there is nothing to miss since the phones have become our lives.
Not only am I this way, so are many of my family members and closest friends. I can’t begin to tell you the trouble that combination of traits has gotten all of us into at one point or another.
Messages have become a way of life and have replaced talking.
Parents have replaced parental responsibilities. They have made televisions to baby sit and phone to teach language. All the families have faced this same challenge and they have watched in horror as their families disintegrate into oblivion
Here’s the thing – perception is everything. It’s bad enough trying to have a conversation with another person and somehow the words coming out of one person’s mouth are just not what the other person is hearing. In person at least you’ve got expressions and body language to read. Yet you still find yourself saying, “But that’s not what I meant!” Now can you imagine electrical communication.
Since texting has become the way to communicate, all the things that years have trained us to rely upon are gone. In a text you can’t pick up on stance, body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, or inflection.
So what do we do? We perceive. We interpret. We assume. And everyone knows what happens when we assume right?
The loss of the human connection. A lot of advocates of social media will say that they actually increase connected-ness between people. And while this is true on a far-reaching but in basic level, it is actually providing an automatic distancing factor when it comes to taking our relationships with others out of the shallow end. We are so near bur very far. We are around the family but not present.
What’s less personal than a phone call? A text. What’s less personal than a text? An email. And what’s even less personal than an email? Send a message on Facebook or Twitter.
There’s something about that distancing, as it has become more and more socially accepted (and even promoted), has also seemingly become more attractive to most people. It’s an easy way to stay “connected” without really connecting. And in all truth, people will usually take the easiest route, so that lack of connection is becoming the norm rather than the exception. People are so lonely in a congested world.
There is a prevailing sense of loneliness and isolation in an increasingly populated world. Families are so compact but very divided.
The Loss of the family and loss to this time
is one of the biggest losses we are experiencing as a technologically developed world. You no longer have a great moment with your family. Families now settle their issues on Facebook. Secrets are splashed on Facebook and family problems are settled in public. People are visitors in their own houses. There is as a life philosophy which says that happiness & contentment can only truly be achieved by living and talking together by appreciating each moment as it is occurring.
But how can we be doing this if we’re attached to our technology? Tweeting and posting away our awareness of the present moment and trading it for recognition in our social circle, we’re more concerned with letting everyone know just what we’re doing than we are with experiencing it ourselves.
Social technologies are certainly a fantastic networking tool. But they are just that – A TOOL. When we find ourselves connected to our tools all the time, sometimes living through them instead of out in the world, it’s time to take a break, start picking up the pieces of our humanity, and replacing them where they belong.
Maybe the first step is learning to turn that phone off during dinner or leaving it outside your bedroom when you sleep at night. And next time you’re enjoying the great outdoors, perhaps this time you toss your phone in the car and forget about it for the remainder of your excursion. It is your choice, to reverse some of the destruction. Our families are important they are bigger than gasgets.
People yearn for a human touch. We are being prisoners in our own families. We have destroyed our family unit through technology.