By Rachel Schwarz

The ability of Facebook and text messaging to keep us in touch with each other faster than ever before is impressive in its own right. However, I am concerned that with these technological tools at our fingertips, it’s also easier to sit on a couch and interact with people in cyberspace instead of in human-to-human situations. Tone, emotion, and intention don’t translate the same way over the Internet, and it’s disconcerting to wonder how this decreasing need for human interaction is negatively affecting the communication skills of younger generations. And I’m only in my early twenties!

When I was in high school, we would pick up our phones and call each other in order to plan our night. Now, teenagers simply send out a mass text, meet up, and then only spend half the time paying attention to their real-life surroundings because they’re too busy texting and facebooking others instead of getting involved in what’s happening around them.

No matter how good the video quality is on the iPhone 4, or how fast Twitter can document the trending topics, there is no replacement for good, old-fashioned human contact. We’ve become slaves to our technologies, and it’s become commonplace to leave our cell phones on the table during meals, respond to work e-mails at 11pm, and be up-to-date on the latest celebrity gossip because ‘everyone’s been tweeting about it’.

I propose that it’s time we re-evaluate the necessity of our social outlets. Get rid of them? Absolutely not. Remember that there’s more to life than a 17-inch computer screen and a text message inbox? Yes. Go grab dinner with a group of friends tonight, because there’s no substitute for real life.

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