Learn how distractions of the digital age can negatively impact our relationships.
As the age of technology continues to show rapid growth, the impact it’s had on our personal, work, and social lives have been more than anyone could have predicted twenty years ago. Technological advances like instant messaging, email and social media aim to facilitate more connectivity among one another, and yet this hasn’t always been the case.
While friends and families across great distances can now more easily communicate and your iPhone can take the place of your credit card, the presence of technology has also managed to strip us of the critical aspects of how people relate to each other.
The truth is, technology has the capacity to promote both connection and disconnection. Being plugged in and scrolling mindlessly through social media becomes a sort of coping mechanism and a welcome distraction from our daily lives. This can lead to negative impacts on our mental health as a result. Despite all of the positive enhancements technology has allowed us, people are becoming lonelier and more isolated than ever before.
Moreover, it creates a sort of pseudo-connection. A person can create the illusion or perception that they are very connected and engaged when the reality is they are anything but.
Let’s look deeply at the impact of technology on relationships and how we can sync up by powering down.
How many times have you picked up your phone and started scrolling through your preferred social media platform only to realize 30 minutes just went by? These moments spent focused on technology can quickly add up to a sizable portion of a person’s waking hours. The same allotment of time that just a few years ago might have been considered an online addiction is now commonplace in smartphone use, especially among younger users. This represents a massive shift in how people spend their time and where they focus their energy.
Reliance on technology can interfere with having face-to-face conversations, allowing people to remain distant, ignoring or blocking people altogether when uncomfortable topics come up. This occurs more commonly than most individuals can imagine. It’s becoming easier for us to type a passive-aggressive message than to sit down with someone and have a face-to-face conversation, even if it’s one we’d rather not be having. Steering clear of uncomfortable interactions in real life may seem harmless, but it can be problematic later down the line in most cases.
Loss of Focus
Whether you just can’t seem to stay focused on your task at work or find it challenging to remain engaged during dinner with your spouse, over-use of technology can result in a lack of focus. Technology is an ideal tool for individuals who enjoy multitasking, giving us the impression that it positively aids productivity. In certain circumstances, this can be beneficial. Still, there are times where dividing your attention across multiple matters can lead to cracks and missed details – not to mention it dramatically diminishes the connectivity it’s supposed to create. The moment our mind becomes idle, pulling out our phones becomes an involuntary action, even when people are around.
What Can Be Done
From staying in touch with loved ones across the globe to building new connections we’d otherwise be unable to, technology has allotted us many conveniences that didn’t exist before. However, it’s important that we create a sense of balance, especially as we try to maintain our current relationships.
According to Ohio counselor Jessica Wade, MAMFT, LPCC, the emotional connections forged by couples through body language, nonverbal communication, tone of voice, and facial expression are essential to the relationship and impossible to replicate with technology.
Experts recommend finding alternatives for easing technology’s potential downsides. To break the cycle, the first step may be to significantly reduce how much time is spent focused on devices, apps, and messaging services. Finding time to consistently detach may require penciling it in on a daily schedule. Allotting non-use times (such as during dinner or date night) can help reground partners in their relationship or individuals to their surroundings.
Need some help making more time for offline activities? Modern Concierge can help relieve you of your daily responsibilities so you can focus on cultivating the relationships that matter. Contact us for more details.