The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Column: Face-to-face interaction lost to new technology

Texting, yakking away on Bluetooths, and emailing are how we communicate, and it’s getting obnoxious.

Technology is shaping our lives, and it seems the day is lost when we leave the house without our portable techno tethers.

The gadget of choice is the cell phone. About 90 percent of Americans own cell phones, making the small group that don’t, cavemen. Face to face interaction is fast becoming a thing of the past.

Growing up, on any given day, you could walk into my room and see me preoccupied by three glowing screens: my television, my computer, and my phone. One of my parents would knock on the door and say something like, “Timmy boy! Come talk to your Dad.” I’d glance up from my text message, then look down and mutter something like, “Ugh, go away.”

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The age at which kids get their cell phones is absurd. Ten-year-olds texting is not a net gain in our quality of life. I know parents give their children cell phones for their safety. I get that they are available, but now we’re not only using, but abusing.

We seem to be so bored with the world around us that we can’t put the gadgets down. It’s like a baby and its pacifier. At dinner we pull our phones out to text on our laps, like infants sucking away blissfully, impervious to who, and what is next to us.

Granted, cell phones let us access the world at our fingertips with instant Internet, but at what price? I often see people having lunch or dinner at restaurants, talking on their cell phones or texting as their friend is talking to them. To the average person this isn’t even considered disrespectful.

I am no Luddite. I own a Macbook and a smart phone and have three separate email accounts. This blinding hysteria and bombardment of media-related messages have disassociated us from the world. Have we become so absorbed by this viral fascination that any form of live interpersonal communication has become obsolete?

People are expected to be reachable at all times. What ever happened to “Hello, I can’t come to the phone right now, leave a message and I’ll get back to you.”

Many of my friends get offended when their text messages aren’t answered right away, or if I don’t take their calls. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and other social media, to what end?

Smart cell phones are a very real step forward in technology, and they become more advanced at a rapid rate. We need to embrace this awesomeness but learn to show a little respect and self-control. Next time you’re sitting in a coffee shop with your friends, put the cell phone away. Engage in a new social network we should call “MyFace.” You will be shocked at how entertaining normal, face-to-face conversation can be. 

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