Technology And The Erosion Of Social Interaction


In the presentation Stress & Screens: How to Thrive Not Just Survive, sponsored by Manhasset CASA at the Manhasset Public Library, Dr. Edward Hallowell, co-author of the best-seller Driven to Distraction, spoke to a group of parents about the effects of technological advances on society. With practices in both New York City and Sudbury, MA, Hallowell is a highly respected child and adult psychiatrist and self-proclaimed “non-Luddite” who appreciates how technology used properly can be a blessing. However, he acknowledges that when technology is used improperly, it can be a “curse.” The effects of technology on relationships—family, friends and in the workplace—can be severe, and Hallowell laments that the “electronic moment” is replacing the human moment and causing us to suffer from a massive deficiency of what he calls the “other vitamin C”—vitamin “Connect.”
With both children and adults often becoming overly dependent on their cell phones, computers and social media accounts, people can forget to connect in ways that matter, Hallowell says. He adds that a paradox of modern life is that we are “super-connected electronically but increasingly disconnected interpersonally.”
Although there is no way that Henry David Thoreau could have envisioned the technological advances and requisite complications that would follow in the next centuries, one of his observations made while living in relative solitude alongside Walden Pond remains timeless. Reflecting on what had been the busy pace of his life, Thoreau asked, “If the bell rings, why should we run?”
The affable Hallowell encouraged the several dozen parents in attendance to “take charge” of the little devices dinging and binging and buzzing in their homes and workplaces because “otherwise, they will take charge of you.” With this string of constant interruptions and disruptions of modern life in mind, Hallowell told his audience that technology can be the biggest obstacle to living a richly connected life and advised everyone to “TIO”—Turn It Off. Visit for more info.




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