Relationships: How Cell Phones and Computers Impact Relationships

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Cell phones and computers change how we do relationships–not always for the better. The more devices we use the less we need human contact.

I remember the gigantic box that housed the tiny television screen when televisions first came into homes and there were only three channels. All the shows were live and anything could happen– and sometimes did. Commercials were live too.

When I was nine transistor radios came out. Oh man. How cool was it to carry around a small radio (by the standards in the 1960s) and play your music without having to plug in anything!

Life back then was so different. People talked to each other live in person. You did things together without having to plug in anything or get special devices. And best of all you had your privacy. When you were not home no one could call you and bug you. No one interrupted your time together.

When you left work, you left work. People didn’t worry about losing business if they were not available 24/7!

When you went to a restaurant you talked with the people at the table not with others not even present! You didn’t know every little bit of personal information about others unless they chose to share themselves with you.

Life was peaceful and quiet–and intimate.

Then computers happened.

Suddenly the world shrank down to a small blue marble. When I was a kid we had to schedule international calls two weeks in advance and hope the connection allowed us to converse. Now you sit down at your computer and video chat at any time-without paying $12 per minute.

I love my computer and I feel very grateful for all the devices that make life easier. There seems to be some device to uncomplicate and speed up most chores theses days.

When I was moving across the country during a severe winter storm and came upon a closed super highway with a detour, the signs directed us off the road but never told us how to get back on. I used my cell phone to reach a friend with a computer who found where I was and directed me back to civilization.

I would not want to be without my modern conveniences. However, I turn off my cell phone and computer to enjoy being with friends and family.

I like quiet. I like being fully present with those with whom I find myself physically present.

I like to choose when to connect. And with caller ID I get to decide if I even want to connect at all! That luxury currently evades me on places like Facebook where the moment I pop on someone wants to chat despite the fact that I disable my availability.

You know what is ironic? All these “must-haves” that are so everywhere present were designed to give us more leisure time. The result is that people have less leisure time to kick back and just Be.

How about you? Do you find life easier?

Are your relationships better because of cell phones, texting and computers with instant messaging? Does modern civilization help or hinder creating and maintaining close relationships?