There’s no doubt that technology has made our lives infinitely easier. Tasks that once took minutes, hours, days, or even weeks, now take a few seconds at most. All the information we could ever want is simply a Google search away, and we can connect with people on the other side of the world with just a click of a button.

Despite these phenomenal achievements, however, there are still those who wonder whether tech is all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, it’s made our lives easier – 

There are a plethora or articles and research claiming that technology has made us socially inept – whether it’s the inability to make eye contact, or a genuine fear of speaking on the phone, generations who have grown up with tech supposedly lack basic social and interpersonal skills.

Indeed, some studies have found children born into this modern world never learn essential social skills – like recognising emotions and reading body language – in the first place.

You can’t learn non-verbal emotional cues from a screen in the way you can learn it from face-to-face communication,” explains Yalda Uhls, senior researcher at the UCLA Children’s Digital Media Center. “If you’re not practicing face-to-face communication, you could be losing important skills.

And it’s not just social skills that technology has eroded. The ease with which we can look up information has apparently weakened our memory; and the rise of short-form content and snappy videos as shortened our attention spans. Where we once had attention spans of around 12 seconds, we now can only focus for a mere 8 seconds.

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What’s more, in the age of Super-Fast and Ultra-Fast WiFi, human patience is wearing thin. A recent study found that just a one second delay in page load time can result in 11% fewer page views, and 7% lost conversions.

Of course, these studies invariably fail to mention to positive impact technology has had on our social skills. The ability to share information and connect with people across the world, for example has opened us up to a culture few would have had access to before – creating more empathetic, culturally sensitive individuals. Similarly, children who have grown up typing and tapping away have excellent fine motor skills, and develop strong hand-eye co-ordination skills.

Ultimately, technology is what you make of it. It’s easy to get nostalgic for the tech free days, and to lament the supposed decline of face-to-face communication. But every once in a while we should stop and appreciate how much easier technology has made our lives, and how much it has enriched us as a species.

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