Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Virtual Relationships?

Remember using this "telephone" as a kid?

I can *so* remember connecting the string and wondering if it could maybe, just possible, work.....

Of course, we couldn't really hear each other all that well - but being lil' kiddos we just used our imaginations and POOF!  ~Instant fun~

Nowadays we have much more sophisticated means of communication.  I can call you on my cell phone from just about anywhere.  I can text you a quick message of info.  I can email you.  I can facebook you (and whoever else may be reading it).  I can skype and even video chat if I have the right technology.  It's a brand new world of virtual communication ~ ain't it grand!?!

For the most part, yes, it is wonderful.  Yet like anything else man-made, it has it's pitfalls.  I *love* being able to send a pic via my phone to facebook.  I can't imagine traveling these country roads with a carload of lil' kiddos without my cell phone.  Texting my husband on Sunday mornings (when he can't really have his ringer on) can be a real time-saver.  I'm not saying it's all evil ~ but still....virtual communication is not perfect.

Things can be taken the "wrong way".  Have you ever sent a simply message to someone only to have them get offended?  Or maybe they were simply confused?  Maybe they thought YOU were mad, when you were actually just joking.  Those cute lil' smilies can help, but ultimately emails, texts & fb messages will never be as good as face to face communication.  Sure, they can be helpful, even necessary at times.  Yet for real relationship building and honest communication, nothing beats a live conversation!

Now, I'm still gonna text.  I'll still send a message on fb.  Yet I'm learning to really guard myself (and others) with what I am typing.  The Bible tells us OFTEN of the dangers of the tongue.  James has a lot to say about it, as does Proverbs.  It's kinda scary how easy it is for our words (even our TYPED words) to hurt others.  What we do online and via our cell phones is pretty much the same thing.  

So I've been second guessing my messages.  I've been double-checking my wording.  I've asked Dean for his opinion, as to what I should say or whether it's best to simply NOT say anything at all.  His first response is usually "If there's a problem, talk to them - not fb, not text - TALK to them".  That's hard.  It's much easier to send a quick message.  Who wants to actually *face* conflict? (not me!)  This has been -and still is- a VERY difficult Biblical issue for me to deal with......

Lastly, I think of my children.  I think of the generation growing up now, that will grow up with virtual communication as the norm.  When I was out last-minute Christmas shopping with Dean, I was shocked at the sheer number of people staring at their little cell phone screens.  Sure, they were communicating like crazy.....but is that really the communication we want our children to be focusing on?   Am I just getting "old"?  

I think all this technology is cool, fun, helpful and creative!!  I enjoy using it.  Yet I also pray I am able to control my "tongue" as I navigate through the ever-expanding virtual world.

We are a physical being created by God ~ so go hug someone, for pete's sake!


Tina said...

Good point, Lori. There are many times my non-spoken words have been interpreted incorrectly. Dean's right, that has to be face to face, or at least voice to voice. It's even harder to communicate effectively when the other person doesn't hear your tone, or see your body language. But like you said, there are huge advantages, too. My aunt and I have gotten much closer through emails and texts, and this morning I got to hug her.

*Michigan Momma* said...

There are definite advantages (you & I would be a great example ~ I seriously doubt we would have stayed in touch as we have without blogs & fb) and I *love* technology! I think it's just another area that we are going to have be super diligent about ~ for ourselves as well as our children. I can't imagine what our communication will look like in just 10 or 20 yrs, when our children are becoming adults. Wow....

Jess said...

I really enjoy your last two post. I totally agree with both of them.

I personally think that all this technology that is available today has a pros and cons. I did a little post a few months back about this. I really enjoy the email and the cellphones (we only have a Tracfone) I don't do fb because my connection is to slow so I would end up spending to much time on the computer. I think if we use these devices as helpers but not as our main goals or activities we are fine. I really get upset when I am having a coversations with someone and they keep cutting me off so they can text someone. I am very grateful for my phone in case of emergency just like you said with kids on a country road. But I really feel that sometimes we as a society have gotten lost with all the technology and we don't know how to carry on or talk face to face with someone.

My mom just told me tonight that they were talking about not teaching handwriting in public schools because everyone uses a computer and texts so they don't need handwriting. We homeschool and yes my children all will learn to write. I was shocked this is just one of the examples where I believe we as a society has taken technology to far.

Again I really enjoy your blog. Keep up the good work.

*Michigan Momma* said...

As to the handwriting, I am also amazed at the number of schools not teaching cursive! I also know of hs families that have decided not to teach cursive.

My son has SOS, so most of his work is on the computer. He will take a typing course this summer (he's 9). Yet I still make him write every week. He has regular ol' handwriting workbooks, plus we work on some book report-type stuff on good ol' paper-n-pencil! I can't imagine just leaving that out!

Yet I also want to be up to date on technology, 'cause it's so important to today's jobs. I want Isaac prepared to handle any job he desires to learn. It's a balance, one that's not always easy to figure out, eh?

Headed over to your blog....;)

Jess said...

That is so true, it is hard to figure out how to balance everything that they need to learn. Only with the help of God can we do it. :)

Thanks for visiting my blog!

The Pauls' Family said...

Well said and so true. There are pros and cons to most technology. And it is challenging sometimes not to get caught up in it all and 'forget' the good ol ways!

I too often wonder how things will be for this and the next generation. Will there still be a great visit while doing dishes, a phone call to that special person, just to hear their voice.....I too am so thankful for the means of texting and other 'technology'. Because I have it, I have been able to stay in contact with people I wouldn't have otherwise.

So ya, agreed. It's a love/hate thing!