Is high-tech communication a blessing or a curse? What’s gained, what’s lost?

Sep 23, 2015 | 9 comments

By Jonathan Mogrovejo

It’s impossible to deny that technology has made the world a smaller place.

It’s also hard not to notice that some of that technology, like cell phones and social media, are making people less social.

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We have all seen the young couples walking along the Tomebamba and Yanuncay rivers, ignoring each other, with cell phones pressed to their ears.

Recently, when I was at dinner at Noe Sushi Bar, I noticed a nice looking 20-something-year-old couple glued to the screens of their phones, reading and sending text messages. It hardly mattered that they were sitting together.

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I do it too since I make a living online, not only when I’m walking down the street, but when I’m sitting down for a meal. My cell phone and tablet, which I keep with me at all times, continue to beep, whistle and buzz, letting me know about new notifications. I am sure if my grandfather were still around he would not hesitate to tell me to leave those noise-making machines in the other room when I sat down for a meal.

The Internet and its high-tech devices have done incredible things for most, if not all of us. They have created jobs, even allowed people to make a living from a hobby. Some expat bloggers have built world-wide followings and earn income by simply sharing their observations. Personally, I sit at a desk five steps from my bed and create websites for people and companies all over the world.

Others use their phones, tablets and laptops to communicate with friends and family overseas. (See How do Ecuador expats stay connected with friends and family back home?) Software like Skype, Facebook, and Whatsapp make it easy to communicate despite the distance. The online line world is vast and it gets bigger every day.

The Internet, the software, and the devices are fabulous tools that make us feel more connected, not just to friends and family, but to the world. But I realize that in many ways they take a toll on us, and I wonder if I should take counsel from my friend Susan Burke March when she says, everything in moderation.

At what cost do we own and participate in this great technology? What is it about those little noises from these devices that make us turn away from a meal with our friends and family? Why is it that if we leave home without our phone, we are compelled to go back to get it, even if it means arriving late to our appointed destination? Are we so afraid that we may miss the opportunity for a great selfie to post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram?

Was this part of the marketing plan of the companies that created the machines and technology, or is it our fault that we have become obsessed about being constantly connected?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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