Think about the amount of daily communication you have – how many of them actually involve eye contact during a face-to-face conversation?
Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for us to text family members from our bedrooms, email coworkers from a few offices down, and catch up with friends over Facebook messages rather than have a face-to-face conversation.
A recent report by the Pew Research Center revealed that 80 percent of people admit to having a phone out during their last social interaction, and 82 percent said they believed it deteriorated the conversation.
Sherry Turkle, a clinical psychologist and sociologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has spent three decades observing how technology has changed the way we communicate. Her latest book, “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age” examines how electronic exchanges – tweets, texts, emails, and IM – are replacing genuine conversations. Relying on these devices ultimately makes us forget the value of face-to-face conversation.
To remedy the situation, Turkle suggests that we set aside “sacred spaces” in our daily lives to take us away from our devices. Omit phones at the dinner table, and study in a café or lounge without wi-fi. Multitasking is detrimental to empathy and personal connection. Instead, we should embrace the idea of “unitasking” and resist the urge to constantly turn to our smartphones.