“When you invent the ship, you also invent the shipwreck.”
– Paul Virilo
For all the advances in technology that gives us more ways to communicate, we have never been more alone. The technology itself is wonderful, yet it can also be very isolating. The challenge becomes to use the technology instead of allowing the technology to use you.
“Technoference” – the harmful effects when the use of technology overly intrudes into our daily lives – is the addiction of our time. I find myself addressing this with the many couples with whom I work. I remind them not to be that couple – the one you see in the restaurant, both staring down at their phones instead of at each other. Over time, it leads to communication marked by delayed responses, mechanical tones and less eye contact. To make matters worse, the brain gets used to this and starts to crave the constant stimulation. It’s like brain candy – and you just can’t get enough.
So how do we limit technoference, and practice connectology – using technology to help us connect? To start, be intentional. Use technology for a purpose. Be careful not to “just check one thing” and wind up spending an hour watching a YouTube video of a tree monkey in Indonesia that can play poker (I made that up, please don’t google it). Here’s a few more tips:
- Use technology to promote connection. Send an appreciative thought or use it to arrange meeting times.
- No digital dueling. Whatever you’re feeling about that last disagreement, share it with your therapist, friend or journal, but don’t hit send.
- Carve out “be seen with no screen” time. Whether with a friend or partner, turn the phone off, put it out of sight and spend some quality time talking to one another.
Enjoy your time together and don’t worry, Facebook, Instagram & Twitter will be there tomorrow when you need them…