Is Technology Helpful or Detrimental to our Social Skills? | Teen Ink

Is Technology Helpful or Detrimental to our Social Skills?

January 19, 2010
By JWATT SILVER, Houston, Texas
JWATT SILVER, Houston, Texas
6 articles 0 photos 1 comment

What do you think your life would be like if you did not have technology in it? No phones or computers, nothing. Some people suggest that technology worsens our social skills. They also say that technology makes us distant from other people and those we sometimes use technology so that we don’t have to talk to people in real life. This is more suggestive to IPods rather than other electronics. Another example that they give is that Internet users/computer users are more social on the computer than in real life because they don’t have to face the awkwardness or interaction it takes to have a conversation with someone. I don’t believe so, technology doesn’t hurt our social skills it enhances them.

I believe that technology helps us in our social lives not hurt us. Lets say that there is a party and if they want to keep it to a certain number of people then they may email the invite to you. If you don’t use the computer or internet then you will not receive that invite till it is too late and you will not be able to attend said party. Also another example of technology as a necessity is this, lets say that there is a huge snowstorm and the TVs aren’t working and the school cannot tell people to not come to school so they send out an email telling you to not come to school. If you do not use, own or know how to use the computer then you will not get that email and could seriously hurt yourself in trying to get to school.

In “Source C”, by Coget, Jean-Francois and Yutuka, Yamauchi it says, “The internet can make it easier to keep in touch with friends.” If you or a close friend moves towns or switches schools then it would be hard to keep in touch with them. But with technology it makes it easier. With a cell phone you can text them call them even email on some phones. Or on the computer, if you have a Face book, MySpace, Twitter, Ichat or Skype account then you can talk to them whenever they are also on the computer. It’s that easy. And like I said earlier and said in Source C, you can send information a lot quicker than anything. Also said in “Source C”, “The internet can foster openness, self confidence and a greater sense of ease and comfort in dealing with others.” If something is too personal to say in a group of people and you just want to talk about it with your best friend then you can text them. Or you could even email them. It is a lot easier to talk about something personal or in some cases awkward over the internet or through a phone. And the last thing said on “Source C” is, “Internet can even provide opportunities by freeing those who are too depressed to conduct social life in the real world.” I think that this is true. If it is so hard for you to be somewhat social in real life that you need a computer to be social there is nothing wrong with that. There is actually someone that goes to school here at H.C.H.S. in the freshman class. She may have spoken two words that I have heard from this person. But when they get on Face book, they are a whole different kind of person. They make videos and take pictures of themselves and post them.

In “Source D” by Jen Harris it says, “Music deepens the experience of walking through the world, rather than detracting from it.” Of course she is defending the IPod in this paper. And she is right. If you are walking through New York City with all the noise and racket going on and people talking, what really is there to see or hear? Cars honking, people talking and the very common “Excuse me,” or “Oh I’m sorry,” after people bump in to you. And please don't accuse me of Selective Sampling because it is the same way in Houston. If you are walking down the street there is really nothing special to hear. Cars speeding by you or honking at one another and if you are listening to music while you walk through these places it could make the experience better than it would be without it. Another statement by “Source D” is, “… the IPod does more to unite people than it does to divide them… IPod acts to bring people together.” Basically it means that you can connect with someone better if they like the same genre of music as you. For example in “Source D”, it talks of how Lisa and Johnny Rocket hold IPod DJ nights at a London bar. You can make a fifteen-minute set list of songs that you like and you can play them at the bar. A lot of people apparently show up to this to. You wouldn’t think that many people would go because it is “stupid” or “lame”, but a diverse group of people come and have fun.

In “Source F” by Norman H. Nie and Sunshine Hillygus says, that internet users are not as social as non-internet users. On the chart it shows a large difference between users and non-users of the internet in social activities. This is an example of selective sampling. They could have chosen anyone to put on this chart. You can use the computer and still go to parties if you want to, but it is really if you choose to. If all you want to do is use the computer all day and not talk to anyone then you won’t go to parties. But you can use the computer and still socialize on the computer and go to parties. It is if you choose to.

In “Source E” by Krystle Song, it says, “… the main appeal of the IPod is that it preoccupies you so you are not obligated to interact with the uncontrollable factors of every day life.” There is no law, rule or courtesy that says that you should talk to new people every day or make new friends. The chances of you ever seeing someone that you met on the bus ever again are very slim especially in Houston or New York, unless you work together, ride the same bus everyday and go to the same place there is almost no chance of ever seeing that person again. In “Source C” it says, “ Online relationships are less favorable. Take longer to develop than those face-to-face relationships…” This is not true. My grandmother is currently in a long distant relationship with someone in Wisconsin. The only way that she can talk to him is by phone or by email and they are still together and very happy. And there relationship took maybe an hour to create. I was with her in the pool at a hotel and she chatted with him while I played with his son who was three years older than me at the time.

In “Source B” by Bob Affonso it says, “A recent study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University concludes that internet use leads to small but statistically significant increases in misery and loneliness and a decline in overall psychological well being.” It says that there are “small increases in misery and loneliness.” Also I believe that this is selective sampling. They could have tested this on people already somewhat unstable or depressed therefore it is an unreliable testimony.

In conclusion, I believe that technology helps our social skills rather than hurts them because of the benefits that it can bring us, and also all of the ways that we can keep in touch with friends and family. You can also connect with people better, like the IPod; you will connect with someone a little bit better if you both like the same music. Also it is said that online relationships are “less favorable” or “impersonal”, but how could you say that if you have not been involved in one yourself that seems a lot like unreliable testimony to me. I believe that technology helps us in our everyday lives, not hurt us.

The author's comments:
I think that technology is helpful to our social skills.

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