EDITORIAL: Students shouldn’t forget how to interact without cell phones, Facebook

Herald Staff

THE ISSUE: Human interaction is fizzling. The overuse of technology has made socializing less personal and future generations may suffer because of it.

OUR STANCE: We should preserve personal relationships by loosening our reliance on technology and getting back to interacting in person.

Peek into any college classroom and you’ll likely see students pecking away on their laptops. Take a ride on the WKU shuttle and don’t be surprised if thin white cords are dripping from every passenger’s ear. And walk around campus, but be careful not to bump into anyone else as they stroll with their eyes focused intently on their text messages.

It’s obvious that we are a plugged-in society. But when people begin to depend on technology too much, personal relationships can falter.

We don’t deny that technology is necessary and helpful, after all, The Herald encourages readers to use its website and engage in its social media pages. Technology, however, is a gift and a curse.

For business, e-mail is an easy way to introduce yourself or keep in touch with potential employers. For events, Facebook and Twitter are good outlets for appealing to mass groups, as well as reconnecting with distant friends and family.

But friendships and relationships shouldn’t be hinged on an updated status or the click of your ‘send’ button. They should be preserved by face-to-face time and conversation that doesn’t rely on words in all caps or emoticons to express different feelings.

Furthermore, personal interaction builds social skills and creates memories. Surely you can remember the first time you met your best childhood friend in a kindergarten class, because there are senses attached to that experience.

Meanwhile, the random “friends” you added on Facebook might get lost in cyberspace because there was never any interaction beyond your computer screen.

Not only does technology diminish personal interaction, it can also be fatal.

With the rise of new texting and driving laws in some states, including Kentucky, government officials have taken note of the more permanent dangers of our attachment to technology.

It may seem an ancient concept to hand-write a letter or dial a number to reach someone. But if you try it, you might discover that it kinda feels good.

Personal communication strips away the anonymity of the Internet. It provides an authenticity that can’t easily be achieved through a text or e-mail. Hearing another person’s voice is far more stimulating than reading their words and trying to decipher their tone.

So kick the addiction. Leave your phone in your pocket when you exit your classroom. Don’t tweet about every move your professor makes as you sit in class; if you try taking notes, you might even get a better grade. Instead of listening to your mp3 player as you wait, try sparking a conversation with the person next to you. It could blossom into a lifelong friendship.

Don’t rely on electronics to communicate – alas, they are fallible. The Herald encourages you to keep the dependence on computerized communication to a minimum. Try living your life unplugged.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member editorial board.