We all see the rise of technology today and in every minute of it, we get to see and hear developments and witness new frontiers being broken. The wide usage of the Internet, I noticed, has contributed greatly to the decrease in face-to-face communications among family members and this is also extended to the size of our social circles.
Unfortunately and dangerously so, it led to an increase in depression and loneliness!
Are you not with me that this technology, which crowds out our interaction in real life with others, will reduce our happiness and therefore must be managed with great care? Therefore, to reap the full benefits, we must use digital tools in ways that enhance our relationships.
Perhaps the real question to think about in-depth: How did our sudden collective shift (especially during the Coronavirus pandemic) to digital communication – away from face-to-face communication – affect social cohesion in general?
Perhaps the problem here lies in the techniques, which we lose those dimensions. Text messages cannot convey emotions well, because we cannot hear or see the person on the opposite end of our communication. The same applies to direct messages on social media. Not to notice too often, that social media is used not to communicate with one individual but to broadcast to a larger audience.
Furthermore, face-to-face conversations tend to be more inclusive than those conducted over text. Especially since with the spread of texting and social media, many people worry that reaching through old connections will be stressful for others. So can we abandon the Internet and eliminate virtual communications from our lives, I realise here is not the answer. Doing so will isolate you and undermine your ability to earn a living. However, you can learn to use techniques to complement your relationships rather than replace them.
Especially since it’s unreasonable to expect anyone to stop texting, but you can resort to it less if you have—if you can say—arrangements to talk to your friends, co-workers and loved ones!
Hence, according to today’s standards – our life may seem old-fashioned – but I find the encouragement of those around me that when we knock on the neighbours’ doors to visit her and then the family sits down to dinner – for example – and chats among themselves and with passers-by.
Thus, when that individual writes and sends messages, he uses technology as a complement to his relationships, not a substitute for them!
In the end, for most of us—especially people who have grown up with that technology—the Internet is an indisputable part of world life seeping into every crevice and crevice independent of any conscious decision on the part of that human being. We won’t come back to life before this kind of technology, of course. However, we can and must use them carefully in the service of our relationships and our family and societal bonds.
Dr Yousuf Ali al Mulla is a physician, medical innovator and writer.