The issue isn’t so much the idea of staying connected with those in your life, but rather the way it alters the connections themselves. The way people view and interact with those in their lives has become disconnected. Interestingly, when filtered through technology, many adopt a completely different set of social mores and/or a different persona. For many the removed aspect technology affords gives them a chance to feel heard. Complications can easily arise, however, when they are called upon to interact with people directly. Engaging in predominately online relationships has left many of today’s youth socially illiterate and unable to navigate the many complex demands of actual relationships.
The question arises, is this constant connectedness via technology an addiction that impedes genuine connections? Behavioral dependence occurs when the body has to adjust to behaviors or actions by incorporating the behaviors or actions into its 'normal' functioning. As with physical addictions, behavioral addictions are characterized as having stages of reward, tolerance and withdrawal. As tolerance grows, the addicted person needs to seek more and more stimulation to sustain a desired level of pleasurable payoff. This can also be accompanied by withdrawal, which is categorized as a deep feeling of loss and a craving for the desired gratification.
It is alarming that these disorders are now being considered at the medical and scientific level. Nevertheless, it is an important topic for discussion since technology has become a necessary part of our lives. The biggest issue for many is the overlap of its use. Technology is used in education, socializing and entertainment, making it difficult to focus on one when you have such easy and immediate access to the other.
It’s clear we need to establish guidelines for our relationships and ourselves where technology is concerned. Unfortunately there is no critical way to easily distinguish someone who has an addiction to a technology from someone who doesn’t. So how can you learn to cope with potentially damaging impulsive behavior? The answer is learning to strike a balance.
Taking care to cultivate and nurture your relationship in each other’s physical presence allows you to establish a firm foundation from which to draw upon. When communication via technology is desired or necessitated, you are more likely to be received and understood. In the end, it is important to realize that technology is merely a tool that extends a relationship; it is not meant to supplant it.
Above article contributed by Kirk Widra M.Ed. for more visit www.kirkwidra.com