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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

Is technology killing ‘real’ relationships?

Jasmeet Virdi, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, July 24, 2014
First Published: 11:22 IST(24/7/2014) | Last Updated: 11:33 IST(24/7/2014)

Albert Einstein once said, “I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

THINKSTOCK

Youngsters today spend hours texting on smartphones.

The truth in what Einstein said all those years ago cannot seem too out of context when placed in today's world. One of the advantages of the modern era is highly advanced technology which has transformed the entire world into a global village. One doesn't have to travel around the world and cross the seven seas to tie up a business deal. In fact, one can avoid seven miles in heavy traffic as well to meet loved ones.

With just a click, one could text, send a voice note or even video chat, as if sitting next to the person on the other end. However, everything comes with a price including the numerous marvels of technology, which has without doubt created several voids in our social lives.

One such major void is the declining quality of social interaction.

“With technology gripping our lives in a stronghold, relationships have become virtual, especially for those who are more introverted,” said Deepika Sharma, 22, a student of UIAMS, Panjab University at Chandigarh.

Youngsters today spend hours surfing social networking sites and chatting or texting on their smartphones.

Another PU student, Namita Thakur, 23, said, "The issue has both its pros and cons. Our elders blame the internet and mobile phones for the steady decline in face to face interaction."

"We're so much into the virtual world that we often aren't aware of the person sitting next to us or with us," remarked Mandeep Multani, 23, a secondyear biotechnology student.

"Even if one has over 600 Facebook friends, one cannot communicate with each on a personal level."

They say that "a family that eats together, stays together." Here comes another void created by modern technology- the couch potato is now a common phenomenon and watching too much television has also been linked to unhealthy eating. Poornima Varma, a mother of a 20-year-old, rued about how modern technology had affected parent-child intimacy, with interpersonal communication becoming more and more infrequent.

D Basu, a senior psychiatrist at the drug deaddiction centre at PGI, Chandigarh, said although most people cannot live without their cellphones, only a miniscule number could be considered addicted to them.

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