The Human Touch…Vs…Social Media
Question: Can social media, texting, and emails serve as an adequate or equal substitute for good old-fashioned human- to- human, face- to- face, interaction? I don’t believe it can. And, sadly, I believe today’s youth are beginning to demonstrate this truth in devastating ways.
Run-aways, suicides, and attempted suicides are on the rise among young people. The Millennium generation that is now before us has the world at their fingertips through modern-day technology…But, technology cannot hold someone’s hand when they are crying, upset, fearful, or needing assurance.
The craze of “texting” has been simplified or reduced to acronyms and icons in place of coherent sentences. Instead of communicating face- to- face how one is actually feeling he or she only needs to “click” the appropriate icon and hit “send.” But, does that truly deal with a person’s inward feelings, emotions, struggles, or need for love and acceptance?
Most professional neo-natal care-givers and stats will tell you that a baby thrives and recovers greater when they are held, gently touched, and talked to. Eye-to-eye contact is very powerful in healing as well. The same holds true with any person (regardless of age), patient, illness, or sickness. The amazing power of human touch and personal human interaction cannot be underestimated in any realm of life.
I have often wondered why so many of today’s teenagers and young people enjoy posing so closely with one another for “selfies” or group-related pictures. It seems that they are just yearning for human contact! Yet; they spend countless hours of texting without so much as looking into the face or eyes of the one they are communicating with.
Walk into any restaurant and instead of people carrying on old-fashioned eye-to-eye conversation they are deeply engaged in texting or surfing through social media. The SmartPhone, iPhone, Tablets, and other hand-held devices have taken over the art of social conversation. Yet; it is leaving a generation feeling null and void.
Not too long ago, I had a close family member to tell me to just “text” them instead of calling them. But, one very strong component of communicating is the chance to hear the other person’s voice and tone of voice. No amount of texting or writing can take the place of hearing the voice of someone you love.
All of this texting, messaging, and email is causing our youth to suffer through feelings of actual human separation and isolation. They may have the world at their fingertips but nothing is more comforting than a parent’s, grandparent’s, or loved one’s touch, voice, and focused physical presence. I believe the same feelings of isolation and separation are also being felt among our elderly and aging population. Nothing can take the place of a parent hearing their child or grandchild’s sweet voice…It’s like music and sunshine to the heart.
Without human contact and personal interactions, many pre-mature neo-natal babies simply give up and die from various complications. I feel the same is happening with today’s youth. They, too, are simply giving up and seeking a way out of life’s ills the only way they know how…through unfortunate acts that bring forth danger or even untimely death.
Today, I encourage you to take a child’s cell phone away and spend time in eye-to-eye, one-on-one conversation. Hug your child. Hug them tightly and hug them close to your heart. Let them know that nothing can take the place of the art of conversation and personal touch. Let your child know that they can talk with you about anything…And, if they feel uncomfortable talking face- to- face with a parent about a particular subject or matter tell them to seek out time to be face- to- face with a trusted loved-one or trusted friend without the usage of cell phones, emails, or texting.
Also, let me add that if you have a parent or aging grandparent reach out to call them. Let them hear your voice; not just a cold, technical text or voice-mail…Feelings and emotions are to be shared one-on-one; face-to-face; and ear- to- ear…
Today, will you please reach out to listen to the voice of one who may be crying in the wilderness? It could save their life.
Remember, God Loves You…And HE is always available to listen….without using technology!
Lin T Rollins, M.Ed. Author