We’ve got our Macs, iPhones, iPods and, now, our iPads. That’s all well and good, but we still have to be careful or we lose our ability to communicate. Admittedly, that sounds like a contradiction.
However, a new report was published this week by high tech entertainment firm Bowen Research, which has studied high technology products since 1992. The study, “Fragmentation of the Modern Mind” (http://www.fragmentationofthemodernmind.com), revealed that American’s are slowly losing the ability to communicate and connect with each other — and technology seems to be the main cause. Among the key findings of the study:
° 42% of people think others are talking faster compared to recent years.
° 49% think other people interrupt more in conversation, compared to recent years.
° 68% think we are more rude.
° 60% think we are less kindly.
° 53% think the overall connection among people is disturbingly weak/kind of weak (most of the rest feel it’s average).
° 91% say the political conversation in Washington, and on TV, is not healthy either.
° 23% say politicians “argue much harder than they should,” and 67% “they really hardly listen to each other, it’s more like they’re just trading attacks.”
° 93% of respondents feel life is speeding up. 31% say it’s speeding up just a little, 46% “a lot,” and 16% “so much, it really concerns me where we’ll be in ten years or so.”
“Of course, if we’re talking ever faster and interrupting each other more, the question is, where will this end?” Bowen says. “In fact this is a symptom of a deeper malaise — our declining connection with each other. The end of the World War II generation (who had a real depth of trust and connection), the numbing rise of TV, and suburbanization have all led to Americans being much more insular in the last half of the 20th century … Our obsession with media, celebrity, and new technology have put the icing on the cake for this trend.”
The report says that need more face to face time with our electronic devices turned off. And that makes sense. I love my gadgets, but when they become more important than people, I’m in trouble. We’re all in trouble.
And despite these disturbing trends, Bowen feels optimism for the future. “We really need to slow down and take more time for each other,” the research group writes. “Strongly connecting with people is such a basic human need, though, I feel we will find a way to do it. Despite TV, Twitter and the Internet, technology might even help, if online social sites can find a way to connect people in more genuine ways.”