How Technology Can Unite and Divide Us

We are living in a time of rapid change. The technology that is revolutionary today is being replaced tomorrow. Technology is changing how we live our lives, plan our futures, and build relationships. In this digital age, we may wonder where it is heading.

As Amazon unveils its cashless store where shoppers just grab and go, former executives to some of the largest technology and social media companies continue to speak out about the problems these new innovations can cause.

What is the answer? Is technology ripping apart the world, or are the advances the way to finally unite us all?

Technology can unit or divid eus by Global Learn Day

How Is Technology Uniting Us?

Over 7.4 billion people live on Earth speaking 7,106 languages. For centuries, connecting with others in distant parts of the globe was arduous and even dangerous. Letters could be written but would take months to reach their destination. Even finding a contact in a far off land was a monumental task.

As the technology of travel improved, interconnectedness was established. Crossing the ocean or flying to the other side of the world took hours, not month or years. Postal routes became well organized and mail could seamlessly be transported from a home mailbox to virtually anywhere on the planet.

The advent of computers and the Internet changed anything. Messages could circumnavigate the globe in minutes, even seconds. A new era of global relationships began. Now finding someone in the far reaches of the world became as easy as a click of a button.

Events, such as Global Learn Day, became possible. We are very thankful for the technology that can unite us in ways that were just science fiction a generation ago. (Still no flying cars, but we can virtually meet face to face!)

How Has Technology Divided Us?

With all these advances the possibilities have grown and our ability to experience people, places, and events has reached further and further distances. However, at the same time the connects at home has broken down.

The fabric of socialization and community has moved from block parties to virtual communities and Facebook groups. The art of conversation is being lost, and despite our growing interdependence and resources, more people feel isolated than before.

Is Social Media Tearing Us Apart?

The dangers and disadvantages of social media have been in the spotlight recently. Cyber-bullying has created a suicide crisis among children, some as young as 8. Social media and smart phone addiction are on the rise. Face to face interaction, even with video conferencing technology, is becoming rare.

As technology advances and infiltrates every aspect of or lives, the connectivity that provides for a healthy and stable lifestyle has waned. As we stare into our screens and build up our networks, more and more people feel isolated and alone. A 2016 Harris Poll showed that 72% of American regularly feel lonely, one third of those suffer from loneliness at least once a week.

Is social media to blame? The answer isn’t an easy yes or no. The phenomenon of social media certainly has its downfalls. Coupled with smartphone addiction, the future may look grim.

The fact is that social media has the power to rip us apart but it also is an amazing vehicle for collaboration. In building up global connects, we must also invest our time and energy locally, being a force for good in our homes, communities, and countries.

The upcoming generation is the first to have grown up on social media. Their birth was announced via Facebook, their birthdays and school projects planned via Pinterest, and they “meet” their friends not on the sidewalk but in Snapchat. Setting up healthy boundaries and teaching good digital citizenship to these young people is vital. It isn’t enough for them to know how to use the technology, they must learn how to use it well and for good.

How Do We Go Forward with Technology?

Technology is here to stay and is so very ingrained in daily life, it would be catastrophic for it to be swept away.  As the shortcomings and dangers of this brave new world continue to be learned and fill the headlines, we must work to take what is good from our new found freedoms and continue to build a world of connections.

Education can unite the world, education not just taught by technology but education of how to effectively use it. As we build a global community, we must also encourage the development and preservation of our local communities. Teaching children how to reach out across the world wide web, but still interact and build friendships in real life. This is an arduous task and one that we are still very much learning how to do.

With great power comes great responsibility. We are at a crossroads for the increasing power of modern technology and social media. How will we use this power? It is the responsibility of each of us to wield it for good!

The human connection will always be the true tie that binds us close at home and across continents and oceans. Want to join our discussion on the future of education and global connections? Become a member of our Friends of Global Learn Day Facebook group.


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2 thoughts on “How Technology Can Unite and Divide Us

  1. I often wonder if todays technological advancements unites us more or puts us at risk. It’s something that I have a strong opinion on. I fear the most for my son’s safety in the online environment. Are they safe using social media websites such as instagram, snapchat, facebook etc?

    It’s so easy to setup a fake facebook profile and reach out to our children…most times we don’t know what potential threat is lurking on the other side of our screen…….what is the proper age to allow access to modern technology?

    What I think should CHANGE GLOBALLY is awareness of this threat, nobody spoke to us about social media in school because it never existed or was that common than, now I think it should be part of the curriculum, educating our children about the risks and how to protect themselves or alert us about anything that they may fell is off a bit about a chat they are having with a new “friend”.

    Sorry for the long rant, I make websites for a living and have seen first hand how many of them lack proper safeguards to prevent such atrocities from happening.

    1. We appreciate your insight. Yes, there are downsides to technology and that is why we strongly support digital citizenship and parent involvement in the online realm. Social media is a tricky thing, so much potential for good but so many instances of misuse. Children on the Internet is a difficult situation, one that we hope to remedy by promoting safe practices and educating parents on the risks. Thanks for stopping by.

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