Technology kills personal relationships

Gary Mountain

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Competition for students’ time has been significantly impacted by the increase of technology. In 1969 when I first attended San Jose City College, students did not walk down the aisles staring at or talking on their cell phones.

Students became friends, exchanged ideas and planned meetings; this was done person to person. They actually had time to meet the person walking next to them and conversation was done person to person.

In 1969, students planned their class schedules around their lives. They did not plan their lives around the school class schedules.

For example, students knew dances followed football games. It was commonplace to fill most of the seats at football games because students knew they might get a date for the dance.

Perhaps they saw a person doing homework in the cafeteria. Often an army of women would sit at one table and men, then and now, would be far too shy to approach them.

The students knew that after the game, they were going to the dance, and they knew that it was the easy place to meet. School clubs often booked a band and decorated the gym.

San Jose City College created space so that students could meet and develop relationships.

School sports events are public venues, safe places to go on a date. Basketball games had increased attendance as a result of the networking that happened during football season.

Community events were known months in advance. Students looked up the schedules of the sports and other social events for the semester and then scheduled their classes.

Students are not even aware that a beautiful man or woman just walked by as they are busy with their head down viewing the cell phone screen. And they may have been in search of the person whom they just passed.

Today’s students have changed the activities once used to create social interaction.

Very few dances are held on campus. Clubs and sporting events have experienced reduced attendance.

Today some of the most popular ways of dating are now done by writing a profile online or texting or emailing a person. Students today have a longer relationship with a computer screen than in front of a person.

Where and when are the beach parties? What has happened to asking people to show up to a barbecue and to bring meats or treats and to spend the day with each other at the beach, or in a private home backyard?

The Apple and HP computers the Facebook generation uses were created by firms, which were founded by school chums, who understood the value of creating relationships first.

Students are missing the concept of creating relationships with their fellow students. Productivity-draining technology has left students without time to develop personal relationships that last a lifetime, with a spouse or business partner.

Times have changed and perhaps not so much for the better if we give up our personal relationships and trade them for time spent online.

SJCC today could improve the use of the technologies to inform all students of what is happening and when so that their life can change to live life in real time.