Has Technology Changed Human Interaction?

Every teenager and kid knows the whining, incessant argument: "How long have you been on that thing!? You should do something meaningful; go outside, play some ball, go exploring! You don't know until you try! You'll never have good experiences or meet any new people with that awful screen!" or "You're killing your eyes on that! Why don't you go outside or read a book?"

Many questions have already been raised on the effects of technology; how it "absorbs" our time and distracts us from accomplishing anything "meaningful" in our youthful lives. Myself has heard the argument above an uncountable number of times, as I'm quite sure many living in the modern-day with any form of technology has.

Though technology is always changing, interaction between us has remained the same; the "how" and "why" it happens, however, is what has changed.

Technology has been changing for hundreds of years, but most notably in the last 100. Overtime, isolation has been largely associated with these new technologies. One can observe it through history with the Newspaper Isolation Effect, the advent of T.V's, and most recently, the mobile phone.


Gary Vaynerchuk argues that technology hasn't changed us; alluding to this photo and the Newspaper Isolation effect of 1947. He says that technology has always been there--omnipresent--but nothing has actually changed. All this technology did was contribute to our "natural state" as human beings: accelerating our ambitions and wants.

I don't totally agree with Gary. Technology cannot be so simply compared to the past. Newspaper was no where near as complex as today's smartphone. The isolation effect does, however, show that "staying inside" or not interacting with others is not something so new. It's has already been established that there are those who stay inside rather than interact; whether it was someone playing Flappy Birds today, or studying Socrates 100 years ago.The way and reason for which we interact is what has changed. If I were to take away your phone and internet right now; what would it be like?


Well first off reading this article would be impossible--no internet, right?

More importantly, however, the pool of possible people you interact with is suddenly vastly different. Smaller and less diverse. If you are a teenager,  you're limited to the ~10 people around in your neighborhood (if you get along with them) and the ~800 people at your school. If your lucky, maybe you get to meet some exchange students from Europe, or other places in the world. Nevertheless, the diversity at school, for many teenagers, won't be more diverse than that of their neighborhood.

Then the internet comes along. Suddenly, connecting with someone thousands of miles away is possible with a few clicks. A whole world of communities, cultural backgrounds, world perspectives, is at your fingertips. Why would someone go outside to talk to that douchey guy next door, if they could just sit and have a fascinating conversation with some person who studies something similiar or has a common interest, from an entirely different portion of the world, from an entirely new perspective? Going outside just seems ridiculous--their is just so much more. A much more fascinating world to explore, right here.

Put simply; the internet already offers so much, so there becomes less of a need to interact otherwise.

Obviously anything taken to an extreme isn't good. If someone were to spend their entire week on Reddit and watching anime, there is an obvious problem. This problem, however, is not in any way new. Einstein, for instance, was known to abuse other parts of his life for the pursuit of science. Addiction then, in one form or the other, is a basic and known human problem. We have always had to live with it--since the dawn of human existence.
Just because someone attributes more time to the internet and their own pursuits should not be automatically attributed to addiction. The craze of the 1940's newspaper isolation effect has already taught us this, yet it is continually revived in different forms; whether it be the mobile phone or otherwise.

Article Idea from Annie Wallace | Featured Image by DerekMaul

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Andrew Plaza

Nerdy Tech fanatic interested in the intricacies of life, technology, and high existence.

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