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Does technology isolate people?

The Opinion Clash is a tournament-style debate in which two Lariat staff members are asked to write about a current controversial topic within 200 words.

November 13, 2018

These days, everyone uses technology. Critics say technology has a lasting negative effect on those who use it too frequently. Does technology isolate people?

Technology is Fine with Balance

Technology provides a way to interact with people who you would never be able to interact with under any other circumstance. Social platforms, provided on the internet, give people a chance to form and find communities of people who share similar views and beliefs.

Technology is not meant to replace face-to-face interactions, but sometimes it happens.  When a healthy balance is found between the two, no harm is done. Many people assume that technological interactions are the only interactions teens have, but one’s involvement in technology does not alter their human interactions.

“Whether or not people are adopting social media use tells us nothing about how much they visit friends and relatives, talk on the phone [with others],” University of Kansas professor, Jeffrey Hall, said.

While it may seem that an increase of online involvement would decrease physical communication, the two are not codependent. Isolation has many causes, but technology is not a factor.

“People [compare] what they perceive as a not-great use of their time with what their ideal self would be doing,” Hall said, but in reality, “they’re not generally going to be doing that anyway.”


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Social Media a Detriment to Empathy

The idea of social media is to keep people socially connected. Many people around the world use it. It is predicted that 2.77 billion people globally will be on social networks by 2019. Social media networks, however, can be isolating.

Social media sites cause people to second guess themselves. When scrolling through Instagram or Twitter, people see others with happy, perfect lives, and that is what they strive for. Social media will destroy an individual’s mental, and sometimes physical health, because they try to fit into a persona of perfection.

An important thing for everybody, but especially for young people, is empathy. A study conducted by the University of Michigan found that college students today are 40 percent less empathetic than they were 39 years ago, with the highest decline being in the last ten years. One of the easiest ways to lose empathy is to avoid face-to-face contact with other individuals. Everyone needs real public interaction.

People need to get off social media and connect with other individuals, whether it be friends, family, or strangers. Everyone benefits from being around others.

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