FRIDAY, FEB. 24: Technology has severely impacted our interactions with others.

Just about everything we use or need for everyday life is instant, automated, or easily accessible. 

With the invention of electric doors for instance, the days of holding doors open for someone else to enter or exit and making eye contact to say a simple ‘thank you’ seem to be gone, as are the days of spending quality time with family and friends to have a full conversation about something as basic as the day’s events.

When was the last time you sat at a dinner table, either at home or out in public, without the presence of someone with a cellphone in hand sending messages?

Have things gotten out of hand when a parent and child communicate from separate rooms in a house via text messages and the like?

What about the inappropriate pictures and messages that are circulated regularly via social media which may potentially cause mental anguish to another’s reputation?

In recent times, we’ve experienced this very mishap with various pictures of individuals being circulated, also names of possible sex offenders and the ever-popular circulation of names of deceased persons before authorities have time to notify next of kin.

With the advent of email, gmail, BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook, Twitter and the like, our young people are swamped with information that many have a difficult time processing and are oftentimes uneducated about the proper and effective manner of its use.

Research has shown that a large number of young people spend more hours each day using social media technology than the number of hours they spend in school. 

Therefore, time that should be spent tending to studies, being involved in extra curricula activities and getting ample rest is being severely deprived.  While this is happening, what are the parents doing and how much do parents monitor their children’s technology use — even after the ‘delete’ button has been used by the child?

Or are parents just as guilty of the technology addiction, thereby creating a disconnect between themselves and their children?

While the advent of modern technology aids positively in allowing us to readily access facts for research, plan trips abroad, find new and tasty recipes, and execute repairs — just to name a few of its many uses — the proper use of the English language seems to be becoming a dying art.

What we see is an increased inability in our young people to speak and write eloquently or to express themselves clearly, whether verbally or via good old fashioned penmanship.

The cryptic codes and methods they have adopted and mastered on social media are indicative of the way they present themselves.

Is there any wonder that many struggle to accurately complete a job application form when they are of age to do so? Who will teach our young people how to communicate effectively?

The use of technology, while it has its benefits, limits interactions with humans. As long as one’s eyes are facing downward one will never have to face anyone to interact socially.  This will greatly impact on interactions at all levels of life. 

On Monday, February 27, the topic on my radio show Generations will be the use of technology and the positive and negative impact it can have on one’s life.

• Shawnette Somner is the host of Generations, which airs on DeFontes’ Broadcasting Company’s 1450AM Gold, 7.30-9pm every Monday. E-mail generations4youth@yahoo.com. Call in live during the show on 295-1450.