The Digital Age of Connection

Teenagers need to adjust to having connections with people online and offline.


Photo by ROBIN WORRALL on Unsplash

The average smartphone user checks their device 47 times a day. That’s 17,155 times a year.

There is no denying that technology has evolved at a rapid pace in the past one hundred years, and with this change in our technological capabilities, we need to adjust how we interact with technology and the people around us. There is no doubt that people reflect on the past with nostalgia for “simpler” times, but it is a misguided belief to think that those times were more idealistic then today simply due to the fact that there was limited technology available.

Over 3.8 billion people use the internet today, which is approximately 40% of the world’s population.

Older generations have a perception of teenagers being glued to their phones and ignoring the world around them.However, young people should be given the benefit of the doubt because technology has been put into their hands so quickly that they are still trying to find a working balance between screen time and face to face interaction.

Furthermore, it’s not all fun and games: spending too much time plugged in can make teens feel alone and isolated. Humans are naturally social creatures and we need¬† interaction with people. Nothing will ever be able to replace interacting with someone in person, but the current world does not provide as many opportunities for that as for virtual interactions. Having all your friends live just a quick walk away is simply unreasonable in today’s world. Living in cities like Williamsburg it is nearly impossible to get around without a car or assistance of public transportation, unless you live downtown. Phones help bridge this gap and provide a connection to those living in isolated places.

46.89 million iPhones were sold in 2018 and 1.56 billion phones were sold worldwide.

There are some very simple things that can be changed in how we interact with our technology in order to help prioritize face to face interaction. Simply not having your phone on the table while talking with other people shows that your full attention is on them and that you are not going to simply put your conversation on pause for a notification. It’s important not to rely on a screen as a buffer, and to have the skills to be able to have a hard conversation in person.

In addition, when it’s not possible to hang out with your friends in person there are ways to make your phone interactions with people more personal. Instead of just texting your friends, call them on the phone.¬† Actually talking to someone means you get to hear their intonation, and there is a lower chance of meanings being lost in translation. Phone calls make electronic interactions more personal and provide actual conversation without being face to face.

Audrey Kovacs, a sophomore at Lafayette High School, observed that, “Having a phone and technology makes me value face to face interaction so much more, since we have our phones with us anytime, but we don’t always have our friends with us.”

“Whenever we have family dinners we don’t allow phones at the table, so we can better connect with each other,” added Colton Ruby, LHS sophomore.

By just being more aware of how and how often you use technology can help you to have healthier relationships with your phone and other people. In this digital age it is so easy to connect online, but getting harder and harder to connect with the outside world.