Is Technology playing Havoc with Relationships?

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Is Technology playing Havoc with Relationships?

by Mathew C Ninan – Brahmavar

Brahmavar: Recently I saw a clipping of a family on a picnic. They are in a scenic spot, but each of them was engrossed in their mobile phones, cut off and unmindful of the rest of the family. It’s a picnic only in form, and not in spirit. The liveliness and bonhomie of a picnic were sorely missing. This is just an example of what’s happening these days. ‘Every man unto oneself’ is the norm today. A highly individualistic culture is spreading thick and fast. Exclusiveness and selfishness are the hallmarks of this culture. The frequently reported ‘selfie deaths’ is yet another pointer towards man’s suicidal self-adoration. Other people are at best an inconvenience, and at worst a nuisance.


Where are we heading? Back to the cave? From being social animals to mere animals? Indications are surely warning us about this prognosis. Family as an institution is showing signs of stress and strain. Joint families have yielded place to nuclear families. If we take it any further we will end up having only bloated individuals and impoverished families. It used to be said, ‘families that pray together, stay together’. Again, ‘families that eat together, stay together’. Now we have reached a point where families do not even have a functional dining table. Dining table is only a piece of furniture for the sake of formality. Everyone has a different time to eat, and a different place to eat. Some eat in the drawing room, watching television; some in the study room and so on. Homes have turned to lodges with inmates. Strangers under the same roof?


Then there are some who are all wired up all the time, apparently listening to music. In actual fact, they are perhaps only shutting out the world around them. Once wired up, nobody will try to talk to them, or ask them anything. This is sheer brilliance, isn’t it? Some ride motorbikes listening to music and even talking on mobile phones, in utter disregard to their safety and those of others. What’s this if not absolute insensitivity and irresponsibility of the worst kind? Mobile phones, computers, I-pods, television etc are all wonderful, but their use must be so regulated that they do not replace human interactions. They should not drive a wedge in relationships. It is this cardinal truth that is lost sight of in this mad craze for gadgets.


Human beings are social animals. They are family animals. They can survive meaningfully only in a web of relationships. Outside of it, they are reduced to mere nameless creatures. Man has an identity only when he is a part of a family and a community. Man in isolation is a beast and an unfeeling and insensitive brute. Man becomes a human being only when he experiences feelings of love, affection, sympathy, compassion, kindness, and kinship. That’s why we say that life is a journey from a human being to being human. All that negates the essential ingredients of kinship and relationship are abhorrent to humanity. This includes technology. Let’s, therefore, use technology and modernity as instruments that serve us to be more effective and efficient, instead of making them our masters to the extent of dehumanizing us.


Once again, nothing shall replace relationships.They are the bedrock of the human race itself. Devoid of relationships, the world will be reduced to a jungle, with all its ramifications. Let’s be forewarned!

Note: The author, Mathew C. Ninan is the Principal, Little Rock Indian School, Brahmavar- Udupi

Pictures for Illustration only

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1 Comment

  1. There is nothing wrong with technology. They enrich our life and make us more efficient. There are always going to be people who abuse the technology and different tools it offers. Ignoring safety rules is really a stupid thing to do. In long run, Darwin’s law of survival takes care of many of these idiots who ignore their own safety! As to human relationships, things will continue to change. There was a time when undivided families were common. Women didn’t work – they took care of kids and family. You hardly see such families these days. I have a feeling that human relationships will enter entirely a new dimension when virtual reality(VR) and artificial intelligenc(AI) become a reality. Many of the human relationships that we see today may not exist in post-AI, post-VR societies. For example, pregnancy may be a thing of past when women refuse to go through 9 month-long ordeal and let human-like robots do the job.

    Ever since Greek-Roman philosophers, we have always been afraid of changes and tried to blame younger generation for moving away from traditional ways. As it turned out, it was an unfounded fear that is built into human DNA. As long human race has a survival streak, we will continue to thrive and progress.

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