Technological development in the sphere of the internet and communications is a distinctive feature of modern society. The significant steps of progress in this area presented people with diverse types of devices during the past decades. Communication is now easily available from any place in the world via multiple messengers, social media websites, applications, and programs. The anticipated effect of such a rapid and progressive advancement was that the communication between people would improve and be taken to a new higher level. However, the tendency observed in the modern world reality proves the complete opposite.
specifically for you
for only $16.05 $11/page
Sherry Turkle fully addresses the problems in interpersonal relationships as a result of technological advancement in her book Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. The chapter from the book entitled “No Need to Call” is at the center of this paper’s discussion. The development in communicational technologies imposed people to live isolated lives where they suffer from loneliness, lack of close people’s attention, and quality connection with friends. The multiple sides of the issue are addressed according to the author’s perspective.
In the conditions of today’s reality, a mobile phone or smartphone serves as a shield behind which people hide from the brutal reality and try to escape from the loneliness. Turkle describes a situation from the life of a girl named Audrey who “prefers texting to talk” and describes her Facebook page as “the avatar of me” (508). The girl feels lonely in her family and tends to get involved in virtual reality, not to be exposed to the harsh everyday life. In such a way, people try to protect themselves from intrusion in their personal space because “texting offers protection” but still being in touch with the community (Turkle 509).
However, such an attitude does not allow a person to fight his or her fears and try to resolve real-life problems. Ultimately, such behavior diminishes the value of interpersonal relationships built on support and common efforts for overcoming obstacles.
Under the circumstances of some life problems, a mobile might serve as a means of connection between the different parts of life. For example, Audrey’s parents are divorced, and she has to live part-time with her father being on the road most of the time. In her case, being on the phone allows keeping contact with and between her parents. Indeed, “her mother calls to pass on a message to her father,” and the father does the same (Turkle 508). Even though it is possible to try keeping the pieces of life together with the help of technologies, but the genuine emotional connection between the family members becomes diminished.
Parents, as well as their children, are exposed to the habits of being always on the phone, texting, browsing or looking through the posts on social media. For example, Audrey’s mother rarely speaks to her daughter in person, rather being busy “immersed in her cell” and not paying attention to the child (Turkle 509). Closing from the outer world, the mother leaves Audrey out of her mind being concentrated on virtual communication. Her lack of interest in her daughter’s life keeps them apart emotionally, restricting any manifestation of genuine mother-daughter connection, which ultimately damages their relationships.
The system of relationships becomes even more complicated because of the reflection of the actions people find in others. A person perceives the inflated expectations to get attention from others as a response to his or her similar behavior. In Turkle’s example, Audrey wants her mother to be more attentive but has to “temper her criticism of her mother because of her habit of texting when she is with her friends” (509). One cannot count on anyone concerning support or empathy due to the personal understanding that he or she does not give the same in return. It complicates interpersonal relations and damages the genuine connection even between the members of a family.
100% original paper
on any topic
done in as little as
When giving preference to online life over the real one or even to texting over phone calls, people become insincere, artificially portraying themselves to be better perceived by others. When one texts, he or she has an opportunity to edit the information, choose appropriate words, and control “how you are portrayed to this person” (Turkle 509). People may manipulate others’ perceptions of their personalities, representing only the prepared information rather than being sincere. Thus, such communication is deprived of sharing inner emotions and feelings and ultimately leads to the increased distance between people who do not get empathy or support.
Concluding the discussion, it is relevant to state that the internet technologies introduced to communication damage genuine relationships and show the overall tendency of modern people to be isolated, unsociable, and insincere. The opportunities presented by technological advancement allow people to hide from their problems behind the screen, try to connect the different spheres of life into one unit with the help of a device.
However, it does not bring any positive effect but instead damages relationships between friends and even family members. Parents do not sincerely communicate with their children, and children do not expect their parents to support them because they behave in the same isolated way. Therefore, people become more distant from one another, avoid talking on the phone trying to send messages instead because that is how they can present themselves in a better light. All these aspects interfere with the idea of easily accessible technologies capable of communication improvement. People fail to help and support, get involved in real conversations, and openness, thus destroying genuine relationships with others.
Turkle, Sherry. “No Need to Call.” Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, Hachette, 2017, pp. 506-523.