Sydney technology in one way or another whether



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January 2018

at Issue Essay #1

“Has technology weakened our
ability to have meaningful in-person social interactions?”

            Technology has become a critical
form of communication that we rely on in our everyday lives. We use it for
everything from ordering groceries to our front door to finding a potential
soulmate. Technology has progressed very quickly and is changing every day. Over
time, we have become more dependent on technology to do everyday things. It could
be controlling our lives and it may not be as noticeable as we think because it
has become so natural to us. While technology has impacted us positively in
some ways, it could also be negatively affecting us in other ways. This is a
controversial question and somebody’s opinion on this topic could depend on
their age, their morals, and how they were raised.

            Most people spend a majority of
their time using technology in one way or another whether it be for work,
school, or leisure. Somebody of a younger demographic who may have grown up
using technology may believe that it doesn’t impact our social lives and our
ability to have a face-to-face conversation. Most young people probably grew up
watching television, using computers, and may have gotten a phone at a fairly
young age. Somebody from this age group is adapted to the common use of
technology and it has become something they are accustomed to. They may argue
that the use of technology has strengthened our ability to interact with people
because of all of the different social media platforms that are readily
available to us; this agrees with a statement from the article, I Had a Great Time with You Tonight. On the
App by Jenna Wortham when she writes, “If anything, the pervasiveness of
technology in my life has heightened my desire for actual one-on-one meetings”
(396). Social media and online networking has allowed us to communicate with
people from all over the world which is something we were not able to do before
the use of technology. Therefore, a person of this generation might claim that
technology has not only made us more social with the people that we already
know, but has also made it so that we can meet other people through apps like Tinder
or Bumble.

            Some people might say that
technology has positive aspects, though, it could be having possible
consequences to our social lives. The question, “Has technology weakened our
ability to have meaningful in-person social interactions?” is a controversial topic
which many people are conflicted about. Somebody may feel that some
technological advancements have been beneficial to us, although, they may feel
a disconnect between the online world and real-life. According to Wortham, “Anyone
who spends much time online and on a smartphone knows that it’s no substitute
for the real thing…” (396). Although technology has given us quicker and more
efficient ways to communicate with each other, it’s still not the same as
having a face-to-face conversation. Somebody who might be split by this
question at issue may feel that technology could be weakening our social skills
but it is also improving our communication with one another.

            Some people that may be of an older
demographic or that have grown up without the use of technology may agree with
this question that yes, technology has weakened our ability to have meaningful
in-person social interactions. For somebody that didn’t grow up with any kind of
technology, they may see it as a non-confrontational or lazy way to interact
with people. They may think that not only is it making us less social, but it
is also affecting the way we think. In The
Influencing Machines comic, Brooke Gladstone and Josh Neufeld write, “Technology
does change our brains” (334). Technology has advanced a lot which some people
may see as being a bad thing. Somebody who agrees with this question may
believe that technology is consuming our lives and that we can so easily get
distracted by our phones that we are not able to be present in a conversation.

            Technology has come so far just over
the past few years, and while I believe it has helped us in many ways, I can
also see how it can be a distraction. There have been many times that my phone has
helped me avoid an awkward or uncomfortable situation. While this may not be
the same for everyone, I do see how phones have potentially made us less social
in everyday situations. For example, having a conversation at the bus stop or making
small talk in the elevator used to be something more common than we see today. Since
the development of smartphones, we are now able to stay in constant contact
with our friends and loved ones which has made us more social. However, I
believe there is a time and a place that technology should be of use and we
should focus more on being present and be more observant of our surroundings
and the people around us, instead of staring at our screens. Technology has
largely impacted our lives, and whether or not it has affected us socially is a
topic that is up for debate.