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Limited connectivity: the communication crisis

September 30th, 2010

It’s hard to remember the days before everyone became constantly “wired in.”

This mentality to always be “wired in” is not all bad. It is nice to be able to keep in touch with friends and family back home and much easier since now that there are more ways to be “wired in.”

However, these days people seem consumed with their electronic devices.

The problem has appeared to only increase as these devices become more and more portable. Look at cell phones from the 90s, and their large size is comical. But the devices have become smaller, and the technology has improved. Now, the access that was once limited only to certain places is accessible everywhere.

I am certainly no exception to this problem. I am a person who feels compelled to check my e-mail, Facebook and phone constantly. When, for some reason, I am cut off from these sources, I truly feel cut off from the world.

Last summer, my phone broke, and I was left without one for several days while I waited impatiently for my new phone to arrive. Realistically, this was not really a problem. I was more than able to survive without texting my friends for a few days and had, in fact survived 16 years without doing so. However, I felt anxious without my phone, as though I was missing out on something.

I probably only made the incessant need to feel connected worse by recently getting the Internet on my phone. Now, I do not even have to log into my computer to access e-mails, social networks or any website. I have it constantly with me and right at my finger tips.

I know it is not just me either. I have friends and family members who experience a similar need to have non-stop access to these devices. I also know young children who already have cell phones and are constantly texting their friends.

So, why is it that we need be in constant contact with each other? There was time when these devices were not as accessible 24-hours a day and even a time when they did not exist at all. The world did not come to an end and people were perfectly happy.

I did not have access to these things until I was 16 and I was perfectly happy with my life. When I was a child, I did not have much access to the Internet or even television. There were no such things as social networks either. I was encouraged to read, play make believe, and go outside and play with friends.

Perhaps once we know we have the ability to do something it becomes that much harder to “just say no.”

It is a challenge to disconnect from the rest of the world. Maybe we should each challenge ourselves try to disconnect for a short period each day. If I thought I could quit cold turkey, I would but I know myself better than that. I will probably never be able to cut down on checking e-mail, but maybe I’ll start with Facebook … well, maybe.