Here’s a quote from a recent podcast:

When we are face to face we are inhibited by the presence of the other. We are inhibited from aggression by the presence of another face. . . On the internet we are dis-inhibited from taking into full account that we are in the presence of another human being.

I pulled that quote from the NPR podcast “In Constant Digital Contact We Feel Alone Together” (posted in the audio section). It’s a podcast I want to hang onto as I found it very interesting and relevant. The guest has done a lot of research on the use of cell phones, text messaging, and Facebook. The discussion (and her research) was geared at making us think about technology and how these devices have changed the way we interact with other people, and what we’re giving up to use them.

Are we communicating better or just faster?

I think these are very relevant questions. I find it remarkable that people so readily embrace technology and gadgets without first evaluating the cost. What are the costs to using Facebook? What is the cost of the text message revolution? I suspect that there are hidden costs in these. Are we communicating better or just faster? I’m glad research is being down to examine this.

But the reason I collect and repost podcasts like the one above is because I feel like I’m a minority. I feel there aren’t enough voices out there talking about these things. In fact even just the idea that there ARE consequences is a rare thing. Nobody talks about the downside of text messages. Nobody talks about why being in constant contact might not be a healthy thing for us. This is a discussion we should be having. We are not slaves to technology. At anytime we have the option not to use it. I just wonder how many people make that conscious choice.

These are questions we all need to ask. As they talk about in the podcast these are issues that effect both kids and adults. Both kids and adults are distracted by devices. Both kids and adults are increasingly uncomfortable being alone. Both kids and adults are getting their sense of worth by the number of texts they receive in a day. If we’re aware of these thing this can change. We need to be smart about what we’re looking at. Especially for parents (which I am now one), we need to be smart about what our kids have access to.

Tech and entertainment always REPLACE something that previously existed. They move into and take the place of something else. I wonder how often we’re aware of what we’re giving up.

I believe that every form of entertainment or tech we bring into our home has a hidden cost to it. There’s a hidden cost in time, a hidden cost in distraction, a hidden cost in loss of margin in our life. These things change us whether we realize it or not. Tech and entertainment always REPLACE something that previously existed. They move into and take the place of something else. I wonder how often we’re aware of what we’re giving up. I’ll definitely continue to monitor these discussions. Hopefully more and more of them will be happening.

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