But IT can also be a negative, too, for people. An attention-diverter. A conversation-replacer. A social interaction-stealer. A connectedness-crusher. We’ve all seen examples of this: people playing with their smartphones at a lunch table instead of actually interacting with the people sitting next to them; people spending countless hours playing games on their tablets or game consoles instead of being with friends or family; people spending so much time playing with gadgets that it erases the time the gadget was supposed to save; people who can’t resist the urge to check their vibrating phone even though you’re having a conversation with them. Some people, it seems, even have a false sense of connectedness to others because they know what’s going on in other people’s lives — but that’s only because they’ve read it on Facebook. IT can lead us down the path to artificial living.
I’ve been around long enough to know that this is not a brand new trend. Each time there’s an advancement in technology, like the smartphone, there’s the potential for a reduction in human interaction and connectedness. For sure, as technology advances and becomes more pervasive, it becomes easier and easier to be like the people described above. Without exception, we all behave that way, from time to time. We can’t, however, simply blame the technology. IT matters, but people matter more. So it’s up to us, as relational human people, to stay connected to one another, without technology coming between us.