Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Technology and Relationships

A related, but separate issue is the role of technology.  So many people today spend so much time interacting with other humans via various electronic devices, that face-to-face interaction is becoming a lost skill.  I recently heard an interesting radio program that covered that issue:


Professor Sherry Turkle of MIT described how communications in even familial relationships are “truncating” and becoming “briefer and briefer.”  She notes that relying on such electronic communications has benefits, but fails to allow us “to experience the humanity” of our relationships.  Technology makes relationships “less messy” because electronic communication is “less involved” thanks face to face or even telephone communication.


The same program looked at the impact of electronic communication from the perspective of families:


One apparently affluent, tech savvy family was studied.  The parents described the biggest challenge as being that they had to make sure “that our kids still interact with each other, and articulate in conversations with adults.”  They had concerns about an older son who didn’t necessarily know to make eye contact on job interviews.  During the journalist’s interview with the family, they were apparently not even all paying attention to the interviewer.  The dad was channel surfing and one son was texting.


Such trends worry me greatly.  In my experience, they are not aberrational.  As a parent myself, I would really like to raise children who have deep and meaningful relationships, who are intimately connected to the world around them, and who can interact with (and minister to) others who are experiencing pain.   When Jesus walked this planet, he spent a lot of time developing deep relationships with those around him.  He got to know them intimately.  That seemed to be important to his ministry.  Truncating communication without being face-to-face and looking people in the eye would not seem to hit the mark.


John 11:33-36

 Jesus saw her weeping, and he saw how the people with her were weeping also; his heart was touched, and he was deeply moved.  “Where have you buried him?” he asked them.

“Come and see, Lord,” they answered.

Jesus wept. “See how much he loved him!” the people said.

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