Man has continued to evolve over the years from the Stone Age to the current information age which features vast advancement in information technology. The digital age has brought with it cell phones which later evolved to smart phones, smart television, social media and the internet in general. People currently are constantly engaged with their gadgets. These devices have been developed to be “smart” this means they learn our patterns and respond to them adequately. Your Smartphone will remind you of a friend’s birthday but it will also go further and even send a digital gift to them. Information technology has not only changed how we communicate but even how we interact with each other (O’Donoghue 4). This has seen a considerable reduction in human physical contact. We are slowly reducing the time we physically spend with family and friends physically as we even meet over the holidays via Skype or Google hangouts. The pattern does not stop there the education systems have been altered and may soon be completely transformed judging by the ongoing trend where the classroom has been replaced by laptops which students use to access notes, teachers lectures and even submit assignments and undertake tests all from the comfort of their homes. Soon we will never have to go to school since we will register online which we already do but even graduate in the same way and our certificates sent to our email inbox. The term webinar which is derived from the term seminar where people physically met to undergo some training refers to a system whereby people attend these trainings online. Most of these examples have one thing in common convenience but it is being achieved at the expense of personal contact.
According to two researchers Dr. Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan, they conducted a research to assess how the brain responds when we are exposed to the internet. The research was supposed to point to the area of the brain that is involved the most during this process and extrapolate its exhibited characteristics to people’s social interaction. The research established that man is capable of developing new neural pathways within the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This is a part of our brain that scans information and selects which is important to keep. This increased activity in this part of the brain suggests that man’s interaction with technology is gradually changing the way we personally interact with others and even losing sense of real relationships. The two researchers concluded that we are heading to a world where we will be unable to distinguish basic concepts of communication like speech and body language due to our choice to over rely on gadgets and technology devices like cell phones (O’Donoghue 2).
Facebook as of first quarter of 2014 was hosting 1.28 billion active users; QZone which is another social media platform was hosting 644 million active users followed by Google+, Linkedin and Twitter. The users also report that they mostly use these platforms to stay in touch with friends and communicate (The Statistics portal n.d). Use of these platforms has continued to grow annually. This trend has seen people of the pre social media era joining these platforms in order to keep up with their younger relatives. Although technology in form of gadgets like cell phones and the internet have made communication convenient and even helps us to get back in touch with old friends. It has also come with some problems especially with regards to our physical social interactions. It is not shocking to find families who have gone out for a family dinner but not speaking to each other and not because there is any problem but because everyone is engaged with their mobile devices iPods, iPads, tablets, cell phones and laptops. One is only left but to wonder the point of these people meeting in the first place if all they were going to do was stay ‘wired’.
In conclusion, technology will continue seeing major developments and more so with regards to how people communicate. Individuals will continue using social media networks and users of these platforms will continue to grow. This signifies the important role that technology plays in our everyday lives. This is exhibited by the fact that for most people it becomes important to check the mobile phone first thing you wake up or your email while you are taking your breakfast. This is driven by human beings innate need to stay informed and not to miss any crucial information. Although technology comes with many benefits it also brings personal contact issues which if not checked may alienate us from our original behavior and emotions and bring about the inability to build real relationships.
O’Donoghue, Zoe. “Friend Me”: The Impacts of Technology on Human Interaction. (n.d): 2-5. Web.
The Statistics portal. Leading social networks worldwide as of June 2014, ranked by number of active users (in millions). Statista.Com. N.p., 2014. Web