Our current generation of teenagers and young adults spend hours every day glued to their smartphones, tablets and laptops. We are so caught up in online dating and social media have we become less romantic?
Today is National Unplugging Day, and research carried out by Innocent smoothies and thier un-plugged festival found that more than half of 18-24 year olds have admitted that technology use is affecting their relationships.
Their research also found that one in five of 18-25 year olds have said that they have lost friends and relationships due to technology.
Whether it be your friend or partner constantly checking their phone when you are spending time with them, or being obsessed with updating their social media. It can soon become frustrating and ironically these communication devices are making us communicate with each other less and less.
Texting and messaging using social media has revolutionised the way we communicate, it is fast and easy to use unlike waiting days for letters to arrive. But words and meanings can be interpreted differently over text messages, and people can get the wrong idea which means something simply meant as banter can lead to an argument. You cannot see the other person’s reaction or facial expressions so how can you tell exactly what their intentions were with their message?
Less face to face contact
Nearly half of the people surveyed (40%) said that they rarely meet or call their friends and family, and they only stay in touch by keeping their social networks up to date. Sometimes this can be the easier option, especially as a student. If you are busy then phoning Mum and Dad is the last thing on your mind, but keeping your Facebook updated with what you are getting up to can keep their mind at rest knowing that you are ok.
Nature shows that humans prefer to be around other humans, but technology is reducing this face to face contact, and the same goes for experiencing life events.
Pressure to be plugged in
With Glastonbury this weekend there will be thousands of people taking photos and recording the acts through their phones instead of taking it all in without a screen infront of their face.
Douglas Lamont, Innocent Drinks’ CEO commented: “With 1 in 4 people admitting to feeling pressured to keep up to date with their social channels, as a nation the pressure to be plugged in has never been more apparent. People are missing out on what is happening in front of them and are too distracted by technology to enjoy the moment. We know it’s also affecting people’s relationships with their friends and family. With innocent un-plugged festival, we spotted a clear need to help encourage people to embrace some digital downtime, switch off their screens and enjoy their favourite festival moment as it happened.”
We cannot argue that technology hasn’t helped some of our relationships. With people travelling all over the world now it is easier to stay in touch with loved ones, and people are now able to have relationships with somebody on the other side of the world. But a screen should not replace face to face communication. Relationships and friendships are not just an emotional bond but physically. You cannot jump through your phone to hug your best friend.