On the way back to Greenville College after a luxurious Thanksgiving break full of Turkey, Mac and Cheese and the most amazing array of soul and comfort foods you can fathom, my family and I stopped at a dairy queen. For us it’s the halfway point between Chicago and Greenville. As we sat down to eat, a sadly increasing phenomenon took place. As the food was laid before us, cell phones went up. We all sat in a community of silence nested in our own digital worlds. It was only when I looked up from my own cell phone that I even noticed this. In the book Crazy Love, Francis Chan describes our cultural situation as one that “relies on technology over community, a society in which spoken and written words are cheap, easy to come by, and excessive. Our culture says anything goes….”
― Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God . And yes we hear these stories and outlook often. Stories of how we are becoming more detached from each other and attached to technology.
I give this anecdotal in particular because our interactions with family is where dating begins! Weird concept, but hang with me. In a nutshell, your interactions with your family (the closest intimate begins to you) translate a lot in future relationships.
According to the Sociation Today: The Official Journal of The North Carolina Sociological , “A key concept in the social sciences, … is that of the family. The family is generally regarded as a major social institution and a locus of much of a person’s social activity.”
This is the first occurrence that we learn to deal with others. But not just any others, usually our family represents some of the closest ties we have.
So from this we can assume that any actions that we continuously practice turns into habit, and we’ll carry a great many of these habits over to all aspects of our lives. Including our love life.
In some cases our misuse of technology can lead to some tension.
In a study done by Pewinternet.org a reported “25% of cell phone owners in a marriage or partnership have felt their spouse or partner was distracted by their cell phone when they were together.”
And it’s a bit more of an occurrence for the younger crowd:
- 42% of cell-owning 18-29 year olds in serious relationships say their partner has been distracted by their mobile phone while they were together (25% of all couples say this).
- 18% of online 18-29 year olds have argued with a partner about the amount of time one of them spent online (compared with 8% of all online couples).
However that’s not the entire scope. When used well, technology can actual foster feeling of love within a relationship as determined by the same study.
In fact it can even foster the actual relationships.
According to a large-scale survey from 2010, “around 10 million adult American couples met online.” Meaning that it is becoming less and less likely that millenials and the next generation will find their spouse through traditional (off web) means. However that brings about other discussions, such as how genuine these connections are. In a romance and technology publication it is stated that
“Internet dating offers an interesting case study of these technological risks, for it encourages both transparency and oversharing, as well as another danger: it insists that we reduce and market ourselves as the disembodied sum of our parts. The woman or man you might have met on the subway platform or in a coffee shop — within a richer context that includes immediate impressions based on the other person’s physical gestures, attire, tone of voice, and overall demeanor — is instead electronically embalmed for your efficient perusal online.”
So once again maybe it’s about how we implement this technology rather than the technology itself.
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