Ongoing developments in new technologies, particularly smart technologies, have brought about significant changes in personal interaction and society. Modern communication technologies have introduced devices with high capabilities and speed, which have facilitated communications between people (Kwon et al. 1). While these advantages have enhanced efficiency and convenience in modern society, they have also resulted in the loss of personal contact among people during communications.
Technology and personal contact
Past studies have indicated the rise in the use of modern technologies, which have replaced personal contact during communication. For instance, Jack Cafferty estimated that there were “270 million cell phone subscribers who sent more than 110 billion text messages last December – that was double the number sent a year earlier” (Cafferty 1). This was in 2009.
He also noted that the average rate of making cell phone calls reduced relative to the previous year. Still, the time spent on communication gadgets had increased steadily. Even on the streets, people are busy with their smart personal communication devices. All these happen at the expense of noticing or smiling to someone down the street.
According to Pew Internet Survey, technologies have facilitated interactions among families. It has allowed busy families to “stay connected with each other” (Casey, 1). This is important during emergencies or problems. Conversely, Casey observed that technologies could contribute to keeping families apart from each other.
This happens in situations in which every member of the family is busy on his or her communication device. While all members of the family may be physically together, they do not pay attention to each. Instead, they concentrate on incoming messages, phone calls, and e-mails.
Some studies have identified constraints associated with modern technologies on communication (Golob and Regan 111). Coupling constraint is a “person’s commitments to be at certain places at certain times” (Golob and Regan 111). People can manipulate coupling strain because of flexible working conditions.
Golob and Regan observe that “activities previously subjected to coupling constraints might also be satisfied by replacing personal contact with telecommunications, particularly if a person feels that the activity requires only information and not his or her physical presence” (Golob and Regan 111). New technologies and experiences have weakened the need for coupling constraints. For instance, people have learned and experienced that the use of a cell phone could replace physical contact with others.
While technology has proved that one can work anywhere and anytime, technologies have also significantly reduced personal contacts and interactions among employees, which have led to the loss of social lives (Rush 1). This could affect employees’ attachment to colleagues, and even families and friends. Studies have shown that the use of such devices could result in high productivity. However, they have also contributed to high rates for work demands and stress levels.
Overall, technologies have led to the loss of several aspects of personal contact. For instance, people lose gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, and social lives whenever they use technologies to interact with one another. This leads to both physical and emotional disconnects from each other. Some authors have suggested that constant usages of technologies may hamper work productivity and creativity, as well as lead to addiction (Casey1; Kwon et al. 1).
Modern technologies have facilitated communications among people. However, they have also led to the loss of aspects of communication commonly found in personal contact. Also, some studies have shown that technologies have contributed to addiction among users.
Cafferty, Jack. At what cost technology replacing personal contact? 18 Dec. 2009.
Casey, Judy. The Impact of Technology on Our Work and Family Lives. 10 Feb. 2012.
Golob, Thomas and Amelia C. Regan. “Impacts of Information Technology on Personal Travel and Commercial Vehicle Operations: Research Challenges and Opportunities.” Transportation Research, Part C: Emerging Technologies. 9 (2001): 87-121.
Kwon, Min et al. “Development and Validation of a Smartphone Addiction Scale (SAS).” PLoS One, 8(2) (2013): 1-7.
Rush, Samantha. Problematic use of smartphones in the workplace: an introductory study. 2011.