We have all seen and heard the video’s, the images that make us pause and examine our own habits. This social issue of technology replacing true socialization and human connections, aka relationships, was reintroduced into my mind and caused me to actually pause in my walk. What did I see that caused me to literally stop and take notice? Picture this: beautiful warm summer day, a patio surrounded by greenery and alive with spring blossoms: my senses where filled! I’m walking by a long term care facility and sitting out on this beautiful patio was an elderly gentleman is a full support wheelchair, obviously staring off into the distance. Is he alone? No, he is not, his health care aid is by his side, supposedly for care and some conversation and some human contact. What is the aid doing? Yup, she is on her phone merrily texting and not paying ANY attention to this elderly gentleman who has likely lived a wonderful life and has many memories and tales to tell.
There has been many video’s , cartoon’s, comments and papers done in the name of technology of socialization and how it is ruining humanity as it is NOT a replacement for real socialization with a human touch. A simple hand shake: you FEEL the warmth, the grip, the skin, you make eye contact and smile. All wonderful experiences, unless of course your struggle with anxiety or other mental or emotional health issue that creates that barrier. However, I am referring to the average “joe”. Awkwardness, loneliness, social isolation and false friendships are some of the many psychological effects of this great new technology that so many have embraced.
Just pause for a moment and look at these images: What do you notice, what thoughts pop into your head? How do the images affect you? Do they affect you or evoke any emotions?
Big difference! Yes, I know the second image is dated, but when people really socialize, this is a reality. Again, I am not including those with mental health issues that create barriers to face to face socialization.
As a Registered Nurse, I see loneliness, anxiety, depression and the all too common issue of lack of boundaries in families and how they all negatively impact their lives and certainly their quality of life! The difference that simple communication tools and rules, aka boundaries, provides makes a HUGE difference in people’s lives, whether that is in the workplace, the home, school, and social situations.
In the health care world, we need to be vigilant in our use of technology in patient care. Technology can be a great tool in education, teaching or doing mechanical skills like lifting, dispensing medications for the RN or LPN to give, but NONE of these can replace the human element that is so precious and serves MANY purposed to those of us trained in assessments. The simple act of touching the hand or shoulder of a patient or human being under stress can mean more that any lifesaving maneuver. That simple touch, portraits care, concern, understanding, empathy, or can be a way to focus the patient. Take the skill of taking a pulse: we not only feel the pulse, but from that we can determine the heart rate, irregular rhythms, the velocity of the pulse (bounding or thready, slow/fast) which then leads us to further assessments. We feel and see the skin, temperature, structure/elasticity, lesions/bruises among other things like infections. This from simply a brief TOUCH. WOW.
Don’t talk to strangers. We are taught this from the time we are wee babies just learning to walk and talk. Of course this is a protective/safety concerns when growing up in a world like we have these days. However, as an adult, your day can be more interesting and interactive if you practice talking to strangers. I dabble in photography, with this, I have learned to talk to strangers: for the possibility of a photo and a story and if that doesn’t pan out, at least I have engaged another human being and shared a story, a laugh or maybe even a touch! It can be very rewarding and warm. I have met some very interesting people simply wander various places within Edmonton and engaging random people in conversation. My observation, is that almost always the person has a story and smile. Simple connection and recognition of the individual, the human being standing before me. Don’t tell me that texting gives that same experience: we usually don’t text people randomly. Face-timing and Skype are better, but your still not connectioning energies which can be very beneficial. Simple human touch.
I’m sure many of us have seen or heard of the studies conducted back in the 1950’s:
TOUCH. CONNECTIONS. HUMANITY. SOUL FOOD.
Put the phone down.