In this age of text messaging, instant messaging, and cell phones, it seems that interactive connectedness would be at an all time high. But then you really have to wonder: is this really connecting or is it setting up barriers for closeness? You sit down for a dinner with a friend and your cell phone interrupts you as you barely have started to reconnect “face to face”. Or you are talking with someone and her phone beeps as a text message comes in and she stops long enough to answer it or keeps talking while she reads it. Are we developing skills to interact in close relationships while we thumb out a quick text message? And what about those friendships that are connected through texting? How close are those relationships that have minute-to-minute contact via texting?
Speed and volume of contact have nothing to do with depth of contact. It may not have anything to do with opening yourself up emotionally to anyone or being there for someone else to open up to us. It isn’t face to face with eye contact, letting down your guard and being real, or experiencing one another’s energy in response to intense conversation, or walking through life’s events together. In fact, it can be a real way to hide out from the world. And maybe it is impacting others in this way.
Lately it seems that the teenagers I have talked to have a reoccurring theme in their lives which is about loneliness. They admit they have good friends, but in the next sentence, they also believe that their good friends don’t want to really hear about problems, that they just want to have fun and enjoy life. And sadly, they believe that if they share their problems with their friends, their friends won’t really care.
And with this theme, it made me wonder, are our children losing something in this age of technology? Are they losing the development of connectedness and closeness because they are lost in technology to communicate with others? Are we as adults losing connectedness with one another because we sit behind our computers, play our video games and do our email? Maybe we need to take out the old fashioned board games and have some old fashioned interactive fun with each other so we don’t lose that skill of connecting closely with one another. It is just a thought.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.
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