Point/Counterpoint: Does Technology Separate Us?

Yes, It Does!

Charlotte Edmunds, Junior, Co-Editor-in-Chief

We have become a world completely dependent on technology. Every tedious task has been made instant and easy, as our mobile devices have begun to replace physical effort. Instead of going to the store or the mall, we can have fresh produce or clothing delivered to our doorstep. Despite the alluring aspects that technology may seem to offer, behind the scenes its mechanical forces are destroying humans’ abilities to connect to one another. Though technology claims to better link people together, the artificial interactions it creates only separates people further from each other and reality.

The effect of technology dependence on human behavior eerily resembles that of drugs. Every time someone’s phone lights up with a notification, their brain releases dopamine, sending feelings of happiness. A steady flow of likes on one’s latest Instagram selfie may produce stronger feelings of joy than laughing with one’s friends. People become wired to constantly reach for their device, anticipating the positive surge of satisfaction that follows a text message or Snapchat. In order to feel this happiness as often as possible, people master online interactions rather than social ones.

The more time that smartphone holders spend perfecting their online profiles, the less time they devote to developing true social skills. Teen hang-outs have been completely transformed because of modern phone addiction; friends gather and “stalk” others’ social media pages or sit in silence, more interested in personal text conversations. No longer must children learn to decipher tone and facial expression. Social analysis skills have been reduced to translating emoji-code and snapchat slang. The Atlantic Magazine’s article “Has the Smartphone Destroyed a Generation?” reports that the number of teens who get together with their friends everyday has dropped by approximately 40% from 2000 to 2015. Phones have replaced the entertainment, comfort and support that friendships offer.

In contradiction with the immediate release of dopamine, studies show that increased screen time leads to increased symptoms of depression. Technology provides yet another medium for social exclusion. If someone isn’t invited to something, or is unable to attend a certain event, seeing how much fun others are having can really hurt. Reminders of one’s inability to fit in perpetually follows them on their phones. “Snapmap”, a recent addition to the popular app, allows users to track their friends locations. Your friends aren’t answering your texts? You can check on “Snapmap” to see where they are and who they are with. This has the power to ruin a friendship.

Though technology was created with the positive intention to make the world a smaller place, on a personal level this machinery actually perpetuates exclusiveness and dissatisfaction with one’s life, while reducing the need and use for social skills.