Is Technology Making Us Socially Inept?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by exwhyzee, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. exwhyzee

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    From the Associated Press:

    Some scientists are concerned that time spent online is rewiring teenage brains.

    Current concerns go beyond violent video games, which often become the center of public attention. Some researchers believe the virtual world could be affecting the way humans learn and interact with each other.

    Dr. Gary Small, a psychiatrist at UCLA, believes daily exposure to digital technologies can alter the way the brain functions.

    According to Small, the longer one spends with technology, the more they will drift away from fundamental social skills.

    He suggests that brain circuits involved in face-to-face communication can become weaker, which can lead to isolation, the inability to interpret nonverbal messages, and less interest in classroom learning.

    Small believes the effect is strongest in those who have grown up with digital technology since toddlerhood, called digital natives. He thinks it’s important for digital immigrants, those who did not grow up with digital technology, to increase their technology skills, while digital natives improve their social skills.

    Read more here.

    What do you think? Will we soon be unable to recognize sarcasm or innuendo? Will we only be able to poke fun if we use an emoticon of immunity? :rolleyes: Do you notice changing social skills among digital natives?
     
  2. B_Nick4444

    B_Nick4444 New Member

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    in a word, yes
     
  3. SyddyKitty

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    Hmm... it could be somewhat true. I've been immersed in technology since age 3. I can't recognize written sarcasm but verbal is extremely easy. I'm socially akward and have always been but that stems from my social anxieties. I live a pretty isolated life and spend way too much time online. However, I love being in the classroom, so long as what I'm learning is in my interest.

    Being that I am an isolated homebody, I can't speak for generations much younger than me as I don't observe or interact with them.

    Does it lessen attention span? You bet your ass it does.
     
  4. Principessa

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    Is Technology Making Us Socially Inept?
    Making us, it's already done. :rolleyes: :duh: Have you not noticed the flood of stupid ass questions about dating the young people on this site ask daily?

    Digital natives i.e. those under 25 tend to be completely clueless about how to speak to people in general not just those for whom they might have some affection. I find it truly astounding how much they don't know and fear for the future of the human race.

     
  5. ZOS23xy

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    I think "stupid ass" question about dating have always been about. Think about the times gone by for many and you couldn't ever find a dictionary that had the word "fuck" in it. In the late sixties, married people on TV were still sleeping in two beds

    Old stories about "you can't get a baby the first time", "You need a Pepsi not a Coke, to insure the death of the sperm...." Kissing will not cause cancer. Feeling good is not a sin. etc.

    People have always lacked common sense because the further we've gotten as a society, the less the parents teach the kids.
     
  6. SyddyKitty

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    Quoted for truth. Would have been nice to be taught how to cook instead of picking it up myself, among other things.
     
  7. andrexx

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    Hardly because of technology. It's not like I never walked through my high school (or my university now) and see people not acting socially. I can't remember a time when anybody I knew decided to stay inside for the weekend instead of going out with friends (naturally, there are exceptions, but that's what they are - exceptions).

    I believe most of this is bogus. I text, I go on the internet, use Facebook, immerse myself in technology. Can I act properly socially? Yes. Do I have trouble talking to some people? Yes, but that was an issue since my birth. I've always been shy. But technology hasn't ruined any relationships for me - it's actually helped!
     
  8. vince

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    Hmmm... I don't know. I just spent the evening with my daughter, her boyfriend and their room mate. They fed me a homecooked meal of scalloped potatoes, and sautéed veggies. We played Scrabble (she beat me, grrrr!) and then we went out of a walk (-9c!!). Later, we sat around and discussed current Canadian politics and a book she bought, "The Ingenuity Gap" by Thomas Homer-Dixon. It was a very stimulating conversation and I'd say they could hold their own very well in any social or intellectual situation.

    They are all 22 years old. My daughter has been using computers since she was 3 years old and so have her roomies. They have had all the digital toys- MSN, facebook, email, cell phones, etc. But I don't think that she or her friends are in any way socially impaired from using technology all their lives. In fact I am impressed with the depth and breadth of their knowledge.

    It comes down to how the kids are raised. What the home environment is, what the limits are and what other activities are available. If you just allow a kid to digitally zone out, yeah you could have a problem, I agree. But like in any other era, a well rounded environment will produce a well rounded person.

    I remember 30 years ago people saying TV was producing a generation of zombies. Well maybe it did for some,but most of us turned out all right.

    I really don't care for this knee jerk generalising about young people. They tried to do it to my generation and it was no more true then, than it is now. There are a lot of amazing kids that I know and I think technology has improved their opportunities and thinking abilities. They also have other interests and responsibilities. My kid's computer shares desk space with an old sewing machine she saved up for. They have a full week planned for me including visiting the National Gallery in Ottawa and the Muesum of Man, between studing for finals and working.

    Not all young people are spending half their waking hours on sex websites and chat rooms you know! :biggrin1:
     
  9. vince

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    Good post. QFT
     
  10. Skull Mason

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    between ipods, text messaging, and internet forums...YES.
     
  11. Principessa

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    Vince you and your children are always the exception. :rolleyes::tongue:
    I believe I qualified my statement by mentioning the young people who frequent this site and not the world in general.

    Actually I wouldn't be surprised to learn that people of the same age in Europe and eastern Europe are socially more adept than their American counterparts. The reason being that neighborhoods and communities seem to form and the people within them interact more naturally. When subdivivsions are built in the states they seem designed for individuals to remain solitary and not meet their neighbors. This happens even in cities.

    Hmmm, maybe it's not technology but architecture and city planning which makes many socially inept.:confused:
     
  12. MarkLondon

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    Well, I can't find it now or remember who it was attributed to, but the best "Youth of Today" rant I heard was from 2,500 yrs ago, by a greek philosopher. His main point was his dread of what would happen to civilisation when they came of age and would be in charge.

    But I worry more about the effect of mobile (cell) phones and mp3 players than computers or TV. People are isolated by their devices even in public spaces now.
     
    #12 MarkLondon, Dec 5, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2008
  13. exwhyzee

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    I have wondered about the impact of the Internet on us all...especially since I spend way too much time on it (or do I?).

    Is what we do today really all that much different than it was 50 or 100 years ago?

    [2008] Chat Room/Message Board, [1958] Telephone Chat, [1908] Front Porch Chat
    [2008] Ipod, [1958] Radio/Record Player, [1908] Player Piano
    [2008] Youtube, [1958] Television/Movies, [1908] Vaudeville/Circus
    [2008] Email, [1958] Typed Letters, [1908] Handwritten Letters
    [2008] Online Media/Blogs, [1958] Paperbacks/Magazines, [1908] Books/Periodicals
    [2008] Video Games, [1958] Board Games, [1908] Parlor Games

    I guess my point is...maybe people can be socially inept with - or without the Internet. Maybe a recluse is just a recluse...whether old school or today. I'm not saying nothing has inherently changed...because we can obviously communicate with others in ways we never could before...and we likely spend a lot less time outdoors...but perhaps its not bad as it seems.
     
  14. vince

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    Yeah... my family is perfect.. :rolleyes:
    The kids I wrote about are all North American... 2 Canadian and an American. This morning, some of their friends came over and they argued politics over breakfast.

    I agree that suburbs are very isolating constructs. It's not surprising that people find community online and that is not a bad thing.

    I Turkey, where I live, most people live in densely populated neighbourhoods of apartment buildings and where more of daily life takes place on the street. Therefore you can't help but interact with your neighbours. Also, that culture is more family oriented. Kids are very likely to be living in multi-generational households where social skills are needed to get along.
     
  15. Principessa

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  16. D_Tintagel_Demondong

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    The difference that I see is immediacy. Kids these days--and some adults--are accustomed to immediate information, entertainment, interaction, results, satisfaction. As soon as they turn on the PC or put the iPhone in their pocket, they are forced to deal with a much slower, harsher world.

    The Internet is information. It's wonderful. It vastly increases the learning potential of children... but it can also make them socially retarded.

    Regardless, there's no going back. Who really wants to drive across town to sign out a musty, dated, crackly library book that you'll probably return late?
     
  17. Scrufuss

    Scrufuss New Member

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    I am just waiting to see an article in the paper (or online most likely) years from now about how 2 people knew each other for years and years online. They exchanged clips and vids and pics ect and get to know each other really well. Then one day one of them dies. Never to have actually met face to face for one reason or another. Will the surviving one even know that the other has died? If so will he or she attend his or her funeral or will there be a virtual memorial? That would be truly sad.
    I swear that will not happen to me.
     
  18. Not_Punny

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    Hear, hear. (And well said, as always, Vince.)

    I have three digital teens, and they are very social and have some of the best manners around.
     
  19. Scrufuss

    Scrufuss New Member

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    Some of us are already socially inept.​
     
  20. dreamer20

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    I had such a friend via another message board who lived in NYC. He was known and liked by a number of other online members as well. I met others from the site , yet he declined to meet me in the past. The excuse being that he had deceived me with regard to his profession and the life he lived. That I wouldn't want to meet an unemployed man who lived with his mother. I told him I still would like to meet him but he broke off communication with me at that time. When our communication and good rapport were re-established I urged him and a mutual friend of ours to meet up, which they did. I didn't broach the subject of meeting him again. There came a time when he said he would like to meet me someday in NYC. However he died before we ever met. I learned of his death and other aspects of his life via a thread on the message board. I was happy to be part of the virtual memorial thread. You don't like virtual memorials Scrufuss?
     
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