Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hey IPod, Stop Causing Social Isolation!!


I came across an interesting study published in The Washington Post, it says “Americans are far more socially isolated today than they were two decades ago, and a sharply growing number of people say they have no one in whom they can confide”. It further says “A quarter of Americans say they have no one with whom they can discuss personal troubles, more than double the number who were similarly isolated in 1985”.

Experts believe that increased professional responsibilities, including working two or more jobs to make ends meet, and long commutes leave many people too exhausted to seek social -- as well as family -- connections: "Maybe sitting around watching 'Desperate Housewives' . . . is what counts for family interaction."

However, during my interactions in US, I heard strong argument that electronic gadgets such as iPhone and iPod are also be blamed for social isolation.

This argument was presented by our host during the home hospitality dinner in Salt Lake City Utah, he was of the opinion that if one notices, people are becoming self centered, highly individualities and selfish in nature. It is partly due to capitalistic economic system and partly due to electronic gadgets. An individual in metro or in bus may not prefer socializing with fellow commuters; instead prefer getting hooked to iPod or iPhone or any other gadget. People enjoy being with themselves instead of being part of social being.

Argument is similar, usually presented during the gun control debate, pro gun lobby says its not gun that kills people its people who kill people. If I just relate it, argument would be, it is not gadget that makes people individualistic/socially isolated its people who prefer to be individualistic/socially isolated.

On contrary, another aspect was also discussed, at the same time technology help people socializing; people prefer spending more time online to be with friends. To me facebook and other sites have helped me to get socially connected or rather expand my social network. Another argument may suggest that due to facebook and other online sites, people are forced to remain online at the cost of physical social interaction.

Well to me it is an interesting debate; I fail to make up my mind, both arguments hold interesting weight.

If gadgets mean minimization of social contact, shall we expect virtual sex in future instead of physical!!! Well, there are people discussing such possibilities!!!

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