Now I love technology - have always been intrigued by and fascinated by it and despite my age, I'm readily able to learn and adopt new technology. I do see the truth in many of the discussions but I also see the advantages of technology. Yes, some kids seem isolated and detached from flesh and blood friends - OR as I point out, they just communicate in a different way than us? Not necessarily worse or better, but the nature of life is change and we, as a species are infinitely adaptable. Every generation looks back and becomes the curmudgeon that grumbles "in my day"....
My kids were all what was termed in their youth, "dyslexic" - i.e. learned disabled. They process information differently and struggled with basic skills early on in their academic career. They are damn bright, however, like their father, from whom they inherited the gene. But how lucky were they? When I met D. in high school, he had originally (along with his subsequent brothers and sisters) been put in what we inelegantly referred to as the "bo bo" class. Thankfully, several teachers in our high school recognized his innate intelligence (we're talking 160 IQ!)- and crafted an (unheard of in those days - early 70s) independent learning program for him. I actually met him in an Advanced English class. Fast forward many years later when he came down to university (I was going into third year when he entered first)- and we discovered through the learning lab he was this thing labelled "dyslexic". The very fact that we were aware and watching for it made it so much easier on my kids - albeit "easy" perhaps is a misnomer. But recognizing it meant working with it - and I worked bloody hard .... figuring out which learning style suited each child - and of course, not ONE processed knowledge the same way!
But I digress...
Like anything in life, technology can have positive and negative impacts. It is ultimately up to the individual to recognize and deal with how it affects their relationships, their passage through their world and the ramifications of how it changes, improves or devolves how they relate personally and on a macro level.
"Blaming" technology for issues in a relationship, for a failure to communicate or anything else is disingenuous... for when all is said and done it is our human hands manipulating it, our human minds embracing or rejecting it, our human choices deciding on how to use it.
My kids had it better than their father ever did - and by the time they reached high school were adept at using technology to abet and improve their output, by university they were thriving and even the minimal adaptations they got in high school for being learning disabled was no longer required. Partially because I refused 95% of the adaptations they could have had - reasoning once out and about in the world, people wouldn't be "adapting" or "excusing" them from being anything but capable at the work they were being paid to do.
I am entranced that the guru who I studied doing my Master's - Marshall McLuhan - foretold the world in which we live today - back in the 1960s when a technology that gave us each a window onto the world was not even in the rich imaginations of most of us. The Global Village McLuhan predicted is indeed today's reality and the oft quoted printer's error has become a prophetic currency "the medium is the massage" ...
From Wikepedia (which I concur is not always accurate but in this case, spot on):
Marshall McLuhan argues technologies — from clothing to the wheel to the book and beyond — are the messages, not the content of the communication. Basically, in its fundamental essence, The Medium is the Massage is a graphical and creative representation of his "medium is the message" thesis seen in Understanding Media.
By playing on words and using the term "massage," McLuhan suggests modern audiences enjoy MainStream media as soothing, enjoyable, and relaxing; however, the pleasure we find in the MainStream media is deceiving, because/as/since the changes between society and technology are incongruent, perpetuating an Age of Anxiety.
All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences, they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered. (p. 26)
The Medium is the Massage demonstrates the ways the MainStream media are extensions of human senses; they ground us in physicality, but expand our ability to perceive our world to an extent impossible without the MainStream media. These extensions of perception contribute to McLuhan's theory of the Global Village, which would bring humanity full-circle to an industrial analogue of tribal mentality.
Technology is not evil - it is - as usual- what we do with it.