Once upon a time, people had real-life conversations and real relationships. These days we either talk by texting, e-mails, or social media and we are even using the internet to find lovers. People are forgetting how to talk and have sincere relationships because technology is shaping how we falsely feel about others and ourselves. After reading Sherry Turkle’s book, Alone Together, I have become more aware of people and myself always being connected. Honestly, it frightens me. How would people behave without their cell phones or social media? Literally insane.
People do not know how to function around other people unless they are connected to something. Why are we letting ourselves and our relationships be controlled by social media and our phones? People need to connect more with other people rather than being glued to the screens of their cell phones. Texting and social media are crumbling relationships, intimate and friendly, every day, yet it is letting us find love. We need to detox ourselves from technology to be able to have legitimate, caring relationships before it is too late and we cannot escape technology’s control.
Although some use the Internet and social media to find love, look at what it can stir up and destroy, technology is not the answer for love. Relationships with robots are ramping up; relationships with people are ramping down (19). We are so deeply engaged with technology that it has caused us to emotionally disconnect from the people who surround us. In an article written by Eliana Dockterman, she interviews Kim Stolz, a former contestant on America’s Next Top Model, about how social media is ruining relationships. Stolz states, “Our obsession with our smartphones has not only changed the way we spend time, but the way we feel and think.
With social media being so popular, people do not care what they say online or do online. We post before we think of the consequences; a simple post can end a relationshop. The more we invest ourselves in our social media accounts the less we think about what we say and how much words could hurt others. Relationships are suffering because social media has no boundaries. Social media has a grey area of temptation; a grey area of the ex-boyfriends and ex-best friends. You reconnect with old flames, stumble upon a new one, or get jealous by your significant other following or liking images of the opposing sex.
Which we all know is not a positive thing when you have “moved on” and dedicated yourself to another person. Personally, I get irritated when I see my boyfriend follows all these girls I’ve never heard of and likes their Instagram posts occasionally. I know he feels the same towards my use of social media. It sounds crazy that I even pay attention to those things, but that is what social media has done to us. It had made us insecure and worried. We are easily hurt by social media due to the fact that we are too devoted to our online lives.
Online we make ourselves into the best person we can be, have the best family, best lover, best friends, and the best life. Social media makes us compete with others in an unhealthy manner. Being so devoted to our online lives, our real lives are slipping through our fingertips. But what’s clear is that Facebook has become such a part of our lives that it tweaks our emotions, for better or worse (Gross). Scroll through your Facebook feed and you’ll see pictures of happy people and then you’ll see a news story about someone being raped, kidnapped, or killed.
Kim Stolz talks about her Instagram; I might scroll through Instagram and see 100 people liked a photo of me, and that makes me feel good, the next moment I might see all of my friends hanging out the night before and wonder why I wasn’t invited and feel extremely lonely about that. Anyone can be in a cheerful mood and then get on social media and hit a depressing low. Our emotions are played with by social media; it controls the way most of us feel. Stolz feels that people have lost their introspection and I completely agree with her. Do we really know who we are without being connected?
We’ve become so insecure and pessimistic. Social media is controlling and destructive; our lives revolve around our phones. We have surrendered ourselves to technology. “There’s been an emerging body of research that shows that when you stop having off-screen interaction, you lose empathy. You lose the ability to have genuine reactions to real problems and real thing” (Stolz). Because we do not have the ability to have genuine reactions, how could we have a genuine relationship? In my opinion, you cannot have a genuine relationship if you are committed more to your social media than your so called significant other.
My boyfriend hates when I am on my phone for more than five minutes and I understand why he gets like that. I am neglecting our bond when I’m more focused on my phone than being with him. It’s almost like I am cheating on him, but with my phone. Have you ever used your smartphone to do end a relationship? I’m guilty of it, for sure and I know many other people are guilty as well. In fact, an article about online dating by Hayley Tsukayama, she states that a study found that 17% of users have broken up with someone via text, e-mail or online message, and that 17% of respondents have found out about a breakup through online means.
I believe this happens because people feel safer behind their glowing screens, and do not feel comfortable breaking the news face-to-face. For example in Alone Together, Turkle introduces a teenager named Audrey; Audrey broke up with a boyfriend online. Audrey knew from the start that it was wrong and she cannot fully forgive herself, “I was afraid. I couldn’t do it on the phone, and I couldn’t do it in person. . . I wasn’t trying to chicken out, I just couldn’t form the words” (197). Audrey finds face-to-face difficult, but she know there are thing that have to be said face-to-face and in private.
I can scroll through Facebook and see people updating their relationship status to single or people on Instagram delete every picture they had together; I am not the only one who sees that either. Break-ups are out in the open for everyone to see. Social media helps people know who is together and happy, together and struggling, and broken-up. According to Stolz, “Social media has definitely accentuated and accelerated breakups. ” People feel secure enough behind their devices that emotions are ignored; online break-ups could be more damaging than face-to-face.
In an article by Doug Gross, he shares a survey from Divorce Online, one-third of all filed papers the word Facebook was used. That is insane; Facebook should not cause or even be an influence to divorce. We use our smartphone to destroy and end relationships, yet we also use them to create long-term relationships and even marriage (Tsukayama). Technology does mysterious things, like open an online word of romance. I personally do not believe in finding someone to love online, it doesn’t feel or seem right. I say this because online we make ourselves out to be a better person, not the real person.
According to a handful of online dating users, they felt “seriously misrepresented” himself or herself on dating sites and one-third of Americans believe the option of having several potential dates at one’s fingertips could actually prevent a long-term relationship (Tsukayama). Online dating in my point of view seems more stressful than meeting by fate and can be more hurtful than good. But how do other people feel about online dating? Anyone with internet access can create an online dating account and any age, 18 to older than 65, wealthy or not.
Over the past five year online dating has become more popular; 11% of adults us dating site and 42% of adults know someone who has used an online dating site (Tsukayama). Personally, I know a few people who have met someone online but I do not know how or if they worked out. Out of all the people who are using an online dating site to find long-term relationship, 29% of them have actually found lasting, long-term relationships. This statistic shows that technology isn’t completely hopeless when it comes to relationship. It isn’t a terrible idea to take a step away from our devices and social media, it can be very beneficial.
Like Stolz said people have lost their introspection. She did a week-long “digital detox”. During her detox she started having real conversations with her friends and reflected on herself. People need to do some soul-searching away from technology, take a breather. When we step away from technology we notice what is actually happening around us. I walked from one building to another and there was a group of eight people, six of them were either texting, listening to music, and even both. It was surprising but at the same time it wasn’t. Technology and social media have the good, the bad, and the ugly.
We create life-long relationships and destroy them at the same time just with our smartphones. When we distance ourselves from technology we return a part of ourselves to the real world, while the more we invest ourselves in technology we lose our feelings. If society can relocate their introspection we will be less insecure and more confident in who we really are. Our social media accounts could be more of who we really are and not the sparkly image we want to be. Society needs to disconnect from technology before we are completely numb to real life, it is only a matter of time.