The Internet and social media are technological marvels, but they may become disruptive, distorting and disconnecting factors when abused or overused.
Fixations or preoccupations with the Internet and social media may be fueling a different but dangerous kind of addiction today. These technologies may limit vital personal interaction instead of fostering it.
Worse yet, they may distort or skew a person's perspective of the world. The result is a negative impact on their behavior — at home and at work.
Mind you, the Internet and social media have revolutionized modern life by providing extensive, nearly instantaneous communication worldwide. These technologies have become powerful research, marketing and sales tools in this age.
At the most-personal level, these advancements have enabled people to stay in touch with family, friends and customers in ways unimaginable years ago.
But akin to misused prescription drugs, fixations on this technology may have unintended, unwholesome consequences.
First, the Internet and social media can be disruptive distractions at home and work. For example, how often do parents find children "surfing the Net" instead of doing the homework assigned to them?
At one point or another, solving the assigned math problems and reading the required material really is the way to learn certain essentials.
Second, people used to complain about spouses and/or children distancing themselves from the family because they're engrossed in a radio or television program or watching a movie.
But today many people "zone out" because they're immersed in a chat room, social network interaction, etc. Or, they're "surfing the Net" for websites of interest.
Regardless, obsessive Internet or social media usage may reveal the outside world, but it also can and does disconnect people from family, friends and/or co-workers nearby.
Isolating oneself is never healthy for family or co-workers
So the same modern advancements that supposedly connect people may separate them. In fact, technology often offers a convenient mental escape.
Readers only need to look around at folks using their high-tech cellular telephones to see this "disconnect" occurring daily. In case you haven't noticed, isolating oneself doesn't breed the stronger interpersonal skills needed to succeed in a competitive world.
Third, the Internet and social media are custom-made for lazy readers and non-readers.
It provides a quick-hit, a once-over view. This suits people lacking the patience or inclination to get the perspective necessary for understanding the news — or for grasping the vital details of technical articles.
What's more, the Internet and social media foment the feeling that anything unreported therein never happened; anything undiscussed in the chat room or on social "posts" is inaccurate and invalid.
Chat-room blather or social media chatter may — or may not — have any relationship to established facts. People fixated on these "outlets" would believe that water runs uphill if they read it or heard it often enough.
Last but not least, the Internet and social media aren't like physics, where like-charged particles repel each other.
Instead, websites often just attract like-minded people who want extra validation of existing opinions. Consciously or unconsciously seeking the same old attitudes and approaches may not steer you to the solutions you need.
All too often, information from a "like-minded" website or attitudes culled from social media reinforces the worst stereotypes in people's minds. That's hardly the path to learning and then solving problems.
To sum up, we may discuss shop management methods, service sales techniques or means of employee motivation. Regardless of the topic, modern communications should broaden our views, not restrict them.
What's more, these advancements should engage people with each other rather than isolate them.