By Meggie Sylvester
In the age of emoticons, instant messaging and endless screens in-between, are young people increasingly lacking the ability to empathize on a human-level, or to experience the feelings, thoughts, and attitudes of others? In other words, does technology disconnect us from simply caring?
According to comedian Louis C.K. host of Louie, technology not only destroys the most basic of human emotions, it also creates anxiety around real-world social situations that are off-screen.
I agree with him.
Think about the last time you were in the middle of a dispute with a friend, colleague or family member.
When people are talking face-to-face, it is easy to distinguish how they are engaged in the conversation and why they may be feeling depressed, angry or hurt.
But somehow, when the situation is taken to an on-screen discussion, a new kind of ego rises to the occasion and often fingers let loose.
And so do words.
How often do you find yourself confronting a situation from the comfort of your own couch and keyboard, especially when you’re sitting pleasantly behind a buffer-screen?
Almost always, the reaction you receive on the other end will fire you up.
Your will-power to resist and desire to be heard are stronger than ever and what better way to prove your point when no one can look you in the eye or hear the distress in your voice?
There’s no doubt, however, that technology has fostered many personal and professional relationships.
As a person new to a media-intensive program, I know how important it is to remain online in order to communicate with classmates.
I am revelling in the changes I have been experiencing with social media and have established more relationships in the past month than the last year before journalism.
In the year 2014, it is hard to imagine a classroom without any online features, but for most university arts programs, even a laptop in the classroom is frowned upon.
My transition between university and college has been challenging, but for most direct-entry students, it is more of a real-world experience.
My question is: do media intensive programs contribute to the development of new relationships? Is it because of my constant online hankering, or is it because of the interactive classroom setting?
While technology plays an important role in our contemporary learning environment, I am still very skeptical about its ability to develop purely visceral relationships.
In the end, how many relationships will suffer because of the constant online interaction?