“Watson, come here; I want you. ” This was the first sentence which was transferred by Alexander Graham Bell to his assistant (Reiman). When Graham succeeded in transferring a human voice throw a machine, he realized that he invented a new instrument which will make communication between people easier and faster. Day by Day, scientists started to improve and develop what Bell started and tried to make matters of communication easy to use and available to all people.
Recently, mobile phones, short message (SMS) and multimedia message (MMS) services, and the Internet have become available to most people in developed countries almost all time. Such new communication means have unconsciously affected behavior of most people, especially the young, as they depend heavily on them in their daily life. Many sociologists have started the notice that human behavior in society has been affected negatively. Therefore, many sociologists have carried out extensive research to study the impact of new communication means on the way we behave and act.
Some people disagree and believe that the new means of communication have made life easier and helped human beings to save time. However, communication through mobile phones, SMS and the Internet is not as effective as face to face interaction; people who depend mainly on technological means in communication might acquire many bad habits and become isolated, persons who could weaken family bonds and, consequently, negatively affect society in the long term. Some people believe that the new means of communication have a very effective role in our lives.
Mobile phones have made communication between people much easier. It is very easy to arrange a holiday, change an appointment or ask about family by calling. Moreover, using the short messages has become very popular. It is a very cheap and fast way to communicate. In addition, many people believe that telecommunication devices do not only allow us to communicate with people that we know, but also the new means of communication allow us to make new friends and get to know about other cultures around the world via the Internet.
People nowadays spend hours chatting with friends around the world; Many Internet users deem that text and voice chatting have made people open minded and social. Despite the fact that Communication through technological means is easy and fast, it is not as effective as the face to face interaction. Some people deem that making a call can make you in touch and replace meeting someone and talking to him; yet, meeting face to face has another taste. First of all, talking to someone on the phone means that they miss a lot of crucial means of expressing and explaining emotions and feelings.
In fact, talking on the phone does not give the same feelings as in face to face interaction. When you talk to someone face to face, you make eye contact, gestures, and use body language which are considered very essential means in expressing feelings and ideas. On the other hand, communicating via mobile phones lacks all these crucial ways of expression and converts a human being to vocal signals (Chandler). Talking on phones does not have the same taste as in talking to someone real in front of you.
For example, you can not see the smiling face of your loved one while you are talking to him/her as well as the astonished face of your friend if you say surprising news. In fact, talking via an electronic device is not like holding someone’s hand and asking with a caring voice about what saddens him. Since the interaction via technological means of communication lacks many important characteristics, lying and cheating whilst making calls, writing messages or e-mails are easier than face to face interaction. There are many ways to lie and cheat before answering the phone or replying messages and during the conversation.
Since technology devices has made human beings a reachable “object” anytime, people tend to lie to not answer a phone or reply a message. It is very easy to say to your friend that I didn’t hear the mobile tone when you called me, the network was busy or any other excuse. Furthermore, if you do not like to reply a message, it is very common to simply say that you did not receive that message at all. Indeed such fake reasons could not be told if the interaction is face to face. Furthermore, people can lie easily using the phone rather than talking face to face.
Psychologists found that people tend lie when they are talking on phone as there is neither eye contact nor body language which are hard to skillfully pretend in face to face interaction (Bernstein et al. 174). Mobile and online communication means is one of the factors which make People behave in a more materialistic way than before. To illustrate, people have replaced many social activities by technological means of contact. For instance, a person used to look for his best friend on his birthday, make sure that he will meet him to say “Happy birthday” face to face and see his friend’s happy eyes for remembering his birthday.
Nowadays, all that people do, if they remember their best friend’s birthday, writing few words in a text message or an e-card, using the Internet only to say that “I remember your birthday’. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 9,600,000 American Internet users prefer to send e-cards to their friends and family in their various occasions. This huge number shows how our life has turned to written words even in our social life (Pastore).
As another example, when you hear that you grandmother is sick, you simply dial her number and ask about her without thinking for a second that I should go and visit her. People think that calling or sending a message does the “job” which we have to do. Most of us are doing this in our life nowadays; our behaviors have been changed. Since we contact most people we know by means of technological interaction, we have unconsciously started to spend a longer time using our mobile phones or surfing the Internet; our behavior has changed in terms of spare time and hours we spend with family.
In the past, family used to go out together, shop, sit together, talk, and share many activities with each other. Family members used to cooperate and support each other to live as one strong structure in society (Awny). On the other hand, family life in the technological communication era is completely different. Although family still have the same members, everyone has his own world and lives semi-isolated. According to Kathleen O’Toole, a sociologist at Stanford University, Americans stated that the number of hours they spend with family and friends has been declined (O’Toole).
Many people nowadays spend many hours sitting on a chair and looking at a screen to surf the Internet. Such a phenomenon has affected our life and our social activities. According to the Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society (SIQSS), 60 percent of regular users of the Internet stated that they have less time to watch TV, read a newspaper, or go for a walk with their family since they started to use the Internet (O’Toole). Such a high percentage shows how the new telecommunication means has affected bonds among family members.
They physically live in one house, but there is none real, emotional interaction and experience exchange among them. Using mobile phones and other electronic ways of communication might be one of the factors that lead to a corrupted society. The lack of the interaction between family members might lead to a problem in acquiring principles and ethics (Lasen 12). New generations will be living in their isolated world talking on mobile phones, sending messages and surfing the Internet in their rooms with less consideration to their parents’ role in their lives.
Youth will not have a strong relation with their family members which might lead them to feel emotionally detached. The signs of the social change have been arisen on the horizon. Many youth nowadays feel that it is easy to leave their parents and live alone in a separate home once they get financially independent. According to the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in The United Kingdome, the number of Britons between 25 and 44 years who lives alone has been increased rapidly since 1971(Williams).
In fact, a person, who has weak relationship with his family members, might feel that he is living with strangers. Therefore, the idea of leaving his family and living alone in a separate house is not hard to do as he has emotionally left the family long time ago. Telecommunication devices has unconstructive outcome on both individuals and society. By depending mainly on mobile phones and the Internet on contacting people, people will gradually replace this far-distant mean with the face to face interaction which is more credible and reliable.
As a result, people will tend to learn many bad habits such as lying and being isolated. A society that consists of individuals who are absorbed by their own world will have weak families and friendships. Everybody should pause for a minute to contemplate and ask himself, am I aware of that vast changes in behavior regarding myself and society as a whole? We all should think of ways to have control over our lives before we get controlled by small devices.