Through the years, we’ve all become accustomed to the normalization of digital consumption. From the invention of smartphones to social media platforms and beyond, advancements in technology have allowed us to connect with people anywhere in the world and have access to limitless information. The point isn’t whether technology is good or bad, rather, it’s whether the continual access to other people can still support our human connection.
Obviously, technology has shifted our world into the future. And that’s a positive component of the digital era. At the touch of a button, we’re able to stay in touch with friends and family, email co-workers across the globe and get tasks done quickly.
But has the normalization of digital usage damaged our desire to actually reach out and talk to someone face-to-face? Are we really that connected?
Human connection is a necessity in part because it increases our confidence and self-esteem. It is the social rapport that motivates us to develop the skills we need to meet people, carry on a conversation and develop partnerships and friendships.
Given the involvement and complexity of human communication, it’s difficult to recreate a one-on-one conversation online, especially with the absence of non-verbal cues.
Think about the last time you emailed a co-worker at the office, instead of taking the time to get up and walk 3 feet to their cubicle to relay the information in person. More than likely you take the digital route, and in turn, lose out on the time to connect with them.
Although a simple example, it illustrates my point. Yes, technology has brought so many positive changes to the world, yet, true human connection can get put on the backburner if we allow it.
If you’ve ever been in a long-distance relationship or had a family member move away, then you know that no matter how often you connect over video chat, it doesn’t nearly compare to the times you spend physically together.
Social connection not only improves physical health, it also aids in our mental well-being. It is imperative for humans to have a true connection with others, including holding conversations complete with eye contact. We should never use digital avenues as an alternative to the natural interactions with human beings.
The next time you’re thinking about sending an email to your co-worker across the hall, turn off your computer screen, get up, and go talk to them. And remember, true human connection cannot be recreated by a keyboard and a monitor.