The Tutelage of Relationships Via Modern Media (Part 1)
Written by: Marx London
Long gone are the days of meeting a member of the opposite sex in passing, feeling the instantaneous attraction, exchanging contact information, long phone conversations, and courtship leading to the eventual confluence of lives. This is how society worked once upon a time. This doesn't seem familiar to you? If not, then you have more than likely become desensitized thanks to the evolution of modern media.
The spawn of social media is far from a new concept. If you remember the popularity of party line chats in the 1980's and 1990's, and the explosion of internet chat rooms in the 2000's, then you can see that this form of communication had begun to replace human one-on-one contact sometime ago. However, the evolution of modern social media (from MySpace to Facebook, Twitter to now Instagram and Snapchat, not to mention the explosion of online dating sites) have forever altered how we meet members of the opposite sex. Beyond social media, the entertainment industry as a whole has experienced a paradigm shift. This is not just in movies, but with sex-riddled scenes in television, which make the illusion of instant relationships seem commonplace. Think about this for one second...once upon a time there was this little known show called Married with Children. That show far pushed the borders of sex and morality in entertainment. Fast forward to 2015. Now, even Disney/Pixar movies contain adult content and connotations, which are beyond our children's grasp. Ask yourself this,when was the last time you watched a TV series that didn't have a sex scene, or even insinuated sexual content. Even movies make sex more commonplace for the viewer. As society changes, so does the content we are exposed to. This is rapidly leading us into becoming desensitized to what we see, and further impacts what modern day relationships look like.
These days texting has all but replaced phone conversations, email and Skype has replaced a lot of face-to-face meetings, instant messaging is the new norm, and sending one another pictures has replaced dating for the most part. This desensitizing behavior has altered the need for physical human interaction. Facebook's boom, over the past decade plus, counts complete strangers as “friends,” and allows us to air our dirty laundry to people we don't even know. If it wasn't for Facebook, would you tell a random person off the street your intimate thoughts, personal situations, or show them pictures of your kids for that matter? The answer is shocking, and yet we never think of it in that manner. Why is that? It's because media is changing how we perceive the world, and hey, everyone else is doing it right? Although social media allows us many technological advancements and advantages, it also is changing our relationships. It's changing how we communicate, and is inadvertently doing away with the ever-important need for human contact. Ask yourself this: what would you do if Facebook closed down today, or what would you do if all cellular communication stopped working? Scary thought, right? Well, the answer is, reverting to having to use basic communication skills.
The relational advantages of modern media is that we can access millions of people worldwide more easily. We can make more friends, find more potential dates, get sex easily and faster, get our news with the click of a button, and access information with a quick Google search (Thank you, Google!!!). Although this makes our lives and jobs that much easier, what is the cost to us relationally? We decline in specific areas of our lives when it comes to the basic human condition...communication. With all of the information we are exposed to, we take on all of the emotional stress of our “friends” on Facebook. By the atrocities we see on TV, movies, and the internet, we are unaware of the trauma our brains are exposed to. We begin to believe in trends because they are popular to everyone else. We talk less and text more. Our relationships with others become more superficial. Divorce rates skyrocket. Sexual partners become greater. We begin to devalue relationships because we feel that they are now replaceable. We don't hold the value of friendship as people once did, as social media makes it so easy to find new friends. We find it harder to sit around the dinner table and have a family conversation without checking our phones. We have to talk to our children about issues far younger because they have access in the “information age.” In essence, we are losing who we are, to what we see.
We cannot change the world around us, and in no way should we not take advantage of the gifts bestowed upon us by the technology gods. However, it is important to remember where we came from, and not lose our basic human skills to interact with the world around us. We still all need to live together in this giant universe, and we just can't forget to exchange pleasantries and good old-fashioned communication. After all, all we have is our WORD!