Modern Technologies and Social Isolation
In the 21st century, people are less likely to give their preference to lifelong relations and are increasingly willing to be alone. The vast majority of them are young people between the age of 14 and 25. Typically, this is a temporary phenomenon that manifests itself at the level of emotions and is not accompanied by any serious mental health problems. Unfortunately, in today’s world such a phenomenon becomes a kind of trend. In science, it is called voluntary exclusion. Social isolation is a social phenomenon in which a person is rejected by the society as a result of termination or drastic reduction of social contacts and relationships. It does not include hostility, and any destructive actions of socially isolated men are aimed solely at removing relationships. Voluntary isolation of a person is performed at his own request and belief (isolation, secrecy and mistrust when dealing with people, or just technology abuse). Sometimes, due to the rapid development of modern technologies, a person does not realize that he or she is in social isolation since different Internet websites maintain a resemblance of real communication. Most recently, the society has formed a view that the causes of social exclusion are rooted in active development and use of innovative technologies such as the Internet, TV, and mobile phones that result in problems in social, educational and even health spheres.
Sirenizing Alternative Reality
The last decade was marked by the rapid development of modern technologies. Modern technologies are beginning to include new educational technologies that use the computer to effectively and efficiently change the culture. The Internet, e-mail and digital television occupied a prominent place in people’s lives and often move the established media into the background, particularly in the younger generation. Communication is no longer one-way; the element of interactivity appears in it. The issue of the impact of modern technology on the younger generation is topical. Nowadays, the amount of information available to every teenager increases in many times and in many ways, and the news spread very rapidly.
Exploring the impact of modern technology on the younger generation, one should consider the Internet as a characteristic medium shaping public attitudes. Of course, modern technologies play a significant role in the lives of teens since they are a means of communication and a source of information. The study of social and cultural situation shows that the increased development of media culture, and especially videosonic technologies (films, videos, computer games, satellite TV), has a significant influence on the younger generation in their social consciousness, being a powerful tool of information and a factor in the development of adolescent creativity. Today it is evident that the Internet, computers and smart phones give adolescents an opportunity of online communication as well as learning interesting information in order to realize their creative ideas. On the other hand, technologies reduce the number of contacts in real lives of teenagers.
Changes in Family Concept and Education
Currently, there is no person that can live without the Internet, computers, cell phones and other digital technologies. Nevertheless, numerous studies show that, unfortunately, there is a significant impact of modern technology on the younger generation. In the context of complex social and economic processes taking place in the society, educational functions of educational institutions and families were greatly reduced. Communication between parents and children goes by the wayside. Therefore, there is an enormous impact of the modern technology on the process of formation of world outlook of the younger generation.
Many studies note that young people today have not only fewer close friends, but no strong need of having a large number of friends as it used to be before. Scientists believe that the concept of loneliness has changed. The connection to family is becoming more and more weak, people become self-sufficient and less in need of social support. Over time, their self-esteem begins to grow, and they become individualists and extroverts. These trends are likely to be caused by modernization. For Internet-dependent individuals the fear of loneliness (fear of abandonment) and the desire to avoid it are inherent. They often face social exclusion, which is characterized by a narrow circle of contacts (perhaps they chat with many people, but very superficially), disability to express and share their experience with others, insufficient number of close relations, impulsivity, inability to plan time to achieve goals (perhaps as a consequence of the lack of permanent work). These people often refuse from previously set goals and, as a result, are in a state of depression. Thus, thanks to online communication people prone to dependencies compensate their needs in communication and gain a sense of security. Excessive desire for communication on the Internet has an extremely negative impact on people’s personality and social interaction.
Surrogate Communication Addiction
It must be noted that many teenagers become addicted to computer games, television and social networks. From the point of view of medicine, computer games impair vision and also generate and increase aggression; satellite TV with a multi-channel system often broadcasts content that is destructive for the psyche; and the social networks replace live communication with the virtual one. The main problem lies in the fact that it is hard to convince a socially isolated teen of the abnormality of his or her lifestyle because it seems to him or her that films, computer games and the Internet allow one to disclose his or her potential. Young people enjoy virtual communication without making strenuous efforts. Via social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter, where the number of “likes” determines people’s popularity, an adolescent begins to feel important and valued, and this may become the only place where he or she feels appreciated. The adolescent perceives the world through imagination, by the use of innovative technologies, and, as a result, more and more immerses in illusions. On the physical level, his or her work has no development; it is not supported by real communication. As a result, he or she finds it in the world of fantasies and dreams.
When there is no realization of creative abilities in life, people, and adolescents in particular, begin to unfold in the world of illusions. If a teenager does not feel understanding from others in the real world, he or she withdraws into himself or herself. Then, the person gradually creates his or her imaginary world. This can be a world filled with distinctive colors and fictional fates – so-called virtual reality. He or she fulfills personal needs and spends more time in the doldrums, “lying on the couch”. Now, in the 21st century, it is pretty easy to create such a world by means of innovative technologies. The main problem lies in the fact that it is hard to convince a socially isolated person in the wrongfulness of the lifestyle because it seems to an adolescent that films, computer games and the Internet allows him or her to disclose potential. A person enjoys virtual communication without making strenuous efforts. Here, he or she begins to feel important and accepted. He or she perceives the world through imagination by the use of innovative technologies, and immerses in illusions more and more. On the physical level, his or her work has no development; it is not supported by live communication. On the other hand, in a world of fantasies and dreams, the teen finds what he or she does not have in reality.
Modern Technologies and Health
Additionally, there are some mental illnesses and psychological deviations coming from computer and technologies. Life is so complex and dynamic that mental illnesses and abnormalities are not uncommon. On the Internet the information, including deviations, spreads very quickly. For example, there are private groups of communication of people willing to part with life. Moreover, it happens that those who conspire to commit suicide on the Internet agree to come together and commit suicide at the same time in different locations. This is spreading faster that it can be imagined. It must be mentioned that in Israel there is Voluntary Service, which is trying to find these agreements, intervene, persuade, find out where a person lives, and get through this person.
Online Communication: Opposite View
While many people claim that modern technologies contribute to social isolation, there is a common belief that communication is always communication, no matter where it is held – online or in the real world. It is better to have a dialogue in any place than not to have any. Traditionally people give priority to live communication, and live chat can be quite rudimentary and uninformative. Social networks are present not so long to draw reasonable conclusions about their usefulness for communication. They have both positive and negative points. Social networking is a kind of school of communication in the new environment, which gives not only communication itself, but also self-presentation and the ability to introduce oneself. It is a way to interact with potentially interesting people, to express opinions, find new connections and, to some extent, become popular. Live communication cannot help in this case due to slowness and less tolerant attitude to various self-expressions. However, the world is mobile, and experience shows that partners who spend much time in social networks either forget about each other, or eventually agree to meet. There are marriages with the help of social networks, which are not less happy than real-life marriages. One will be able to give a valid conclusion on social media and social isolation relationships in 15-20 years.
To conclude, one can say that the influence of technology on social isolation is evident. Technology creates significant difficulties in communication with peers and family in real life, leads to several psychological disorders, suicides, etc. However, due to the recent emergence of the technology, one cannot make long-term prediction on this matter since there were no precedents of such investigations. The only conclusion that can be drawn is that there is a necessity to constantly monitor and study the issue so as not to miss the point of no return.