Technological development has had a strong impact on the way society communicates, particularly with its acceleration in the last few centuries. From the invention of the telegraph and telephone to the advent of the Internet, technology has given people tools to not only keep in touch with each other, but also express their feelings and opinions to a broader audience than would otherwise have been impossible. Everything has both a positive and negative impact, and the impact of technology on the communication process also comes as mixed baggage. It is the purpose of this paper to discuss the positive and negative impacts of computer technology on communication. In this article, we would be discussing the impact of popular technological elements like emails, telephones, cellphones etc. on our means of communication.
Communication is an essential part of life. The use of technology can be a great help to people in communicating, reducing the time it takes. But technology can have consequences of reducing person-to-person interaction without the device as an intermediary.
Electronic mail, or email, was one of the first changes in how people use technology to communicate with individuals. The ability to release information to many different people at once, without calling a meeting or requiring printing of the materials, turned into a money- and time-saving device.
Text messaging also has its own language, an abbreviated form of speech that has found its way into classrooms and businesses. People are more likely to pull out their phone and start texting while sitting at the table for dinner or while having a conversation in person. The actions of texting may seem rude under conventional social norms, leading to misunderstandings.
Instant messaging has been around since the 1990s. It was primarily used by people to communicate while doing homework and just to keep in touch. It was texting before text messaging became affordable. Businesses realized the potential of real-time communication at the computer between employees and implemented it. Instant messaging, or IM, has allowed people to reach other people without having to use the phone.
Social media have been a revolution in how people plan events and communicate with one another. Rather than talking to their friends in person, they can post a comment about their life. The revolution of social media has allowed people to rekindle friendships, make new friends and gain new interests.
1. Positive Effects of Technology on Communication
Technology has transformed the once big and far world into a tiny global village. Thanks to technology, we now have the power to communicate with anybody on the other side of the world. The points below summarize these benefits.
1.1. Keeping in Touch
For more than a century now, technological advances have brought the world closer, making communication across long distances easier. Telegrams are faster than letters; phone calls, in turn, are faster than telegrams, as well as easier and more pleasant, since they require no go-between and allow users to hear each other's voice. Cell phones take this one step further, allowing people to call and speak with each other regardless of their location. Online communication of all types is the most efficient yet, with email being a near-instantaneous version of the paper letter; webcams, paired with communication programs such as Skype, iChat or Google Video Chat, make it possible to see the person you are speaking with rather than just hear his voice.
1.2. Doing Business
The same technological advances that have simplified and improved personal communication have also had the same beneficial effects on business. Communication between colleagues is near-instantaneous whether they are a few rooms or a few countries apart; video conferencing allows companies to have workers scattered around the globe while but still hold efficient meetings and discussions; business networking is made easier by social media and online networks designed specifically for that purpose, such as LinkedIn. Perhaps most importantly, companies can expand beyond their local market and gain a wider customer base simply by maintaining an active online presence.
1.3. Overcoming Disabilities
Technology has both improved communication for disabled people and made it possible where it previously wasn't. Hearing aids boost the hearing of partially deaf people, making it easier to understand speech, while cochlear implants restore hearing to the completely deaf. Speech-generating devices give people with severe speech impairments a way to express themselves: perhaps the most famous user of such a device is scientist Stephen Hawking. Further advances in technology may result in functional brain-computer interface systems, restoring the ability to communicate to people who have lost it entirely, such as sufferers of locked-in syndrome.
1.4 Reaching a Broader Audience
As people's ability to communicate improves, the reach of their messages widens. This can be especially important in politics and activism. For instance, photos and video recorded covertly through a cell phone can be quickly and easily shared online through websites such as YouTube, making it harder for oppressive regimes to keep control; social networks such as Facebook and Twitter can be used to organize and coordinate meetings and protests. The Egyptian revolution of 2011-2012 was spurred greatly by social media.
2. The Negative Effects of Technology on Communication
Communicating via computers can help people bridge large geographical gaps and access remote information, but doing so may open up a person's privacy more than he might want. With an in-person meeting or phone conversation, there is a relative assurance that details of those exchanges will remain private. However, with email, text messaging or message boards, there is a record of what people say. Information is not just thrown out into the air like speech, but it stored as a permanent record. There is an inherent danger when third parties can access these online "conversations." Similarly, social networks and other Internet-based communication tools are vulnerable to privacy breach, as users often engage in these activities on public networks, leaving personal information, potentially, out in the open.
The fact that most communication taking place on computers comes in the form of text can actually be a negative in terms of our ability to understand things clearly. Even with email, it is possible for information to be misconstrued or the emotion of a statement to be missed. Saying "thanks a lot" to someone in an e-mail message, for instance, could be used to genuinely relay gratitude. On the other hand, it could indicate a negative feeling of someone being put in a tough position. The context clues that a person provides with their body language and tone of voice are lost in this scenario. Users get around some of this confusion by using emoticons --- keyboard characters that serve as a shorthand for mood and feeling --- but a great deal of subtlety can be missed without seeing how someone reacts with their body language and voice.
Society's dependency on computers for communication is also a dangerous game, as outside forces can prevent communication in a variety of ways. Earthquakes, floods and hurricanes have caused various slowdowns and stoppages of Internet connectivity for people all over the world. Additionally, reliance on social networks and email can have the unintended consequence of opening a person up to identify theft attempts and email scams. Even the outside force of political unrest can threaten a user's ability to communicate, as the 2011 demonstrations in Cairo and Libya resulted in government shutdowns of the Internet, drastically curtailing each country's ability to communicate, both nationally and internationally.
2.4. Impact on children
The minds of children are like blank pages. As we know that the generation of this era has a high level of dexterity. Their elevated cleverness allows them to fill those pages very fast with the provided information. Such information can be extracted not only from books and other educational materials but also from games, TV shows and texting. . Now, more and more people are interacting with others through different platforms like apps, role-playing online games, social networks, etc. This advancement has hampered the physical interaction skills of many children. Due to that they don’t know how to interact with others when they meet them in-person or what gesture they should carry. A limited use of gadgets can be quite useful for children as it will allow them to be up to date with the current technology. However, the overuse of these advancements can really hamper or even damage their development in the personal growth, communication and educational department.
2.5 Elevated Exasperation
These days, children indulge themselves in internet, games or texting. These activities have affected their psyche negatively, consequently leading to increased frustration. Now they get frustrated whenever they are asked to do anything while playing games or using internet. For instance, when their parents ask them to take the trash out, they get furious instantly. This behavior has shattered many parent-children relationships.
2.6. Deteriorated Patience
Patience is a very precious virtue and its scarcity could deteriorate a person’s Will. Determination is a necessity that comes with patience and without it no individual can survive the hardships of life. According to studies, tolerance in children is vanishing quite increasingly due to the improper use of technology. For example, children get frustrated quickly when they surf internet and the page they want to view takes time to load.
2.7. Declining Writing Skills
Due to the excessive usage of online chatting and shortcuts, the writing skills of today’s young generation have declined quite tremendously. These days, children are relying more and more on digital communication that they have totally forgot about improving their writing skills. They don’t know the spelling of different words, how to use grammar properly or how to do cursive writing.
While technology did make communications faster and easier, it has also made, at times, communication more distracting and less clear.With any technological innovation and use of computer, communication issues of privacy, trust, security, and social control have been raised as computers have become more pervasive.. As you can see, the impact is both positive and negative. But logically thinking, technology has bettered the communication process and has done negligible harm. The positive points of the technological advancements cover up the negative points. It all depends on how we use these means; use the technological means of communication for sane purposes, and don't abuse them for malicious motives
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Article Added on Friday, March 13, 2015
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