Monday, April 8, 2013

The Importance of Healthy Relationships



In some ways, technology has made our lives extremely complex. However, it has also simplified our ability to keep in touch with other people. Networking and developing relationships are important but despite the prevalence of technology we seem to be doing less of these things. According to Time magazine, we have 33 percent fewer friends today than our counterparts of 20 years ago did. Many people blame technology itself, saying it has negatively impacted their personal and professional lives.

College students report that technology has reduced their ability to trust and cooperate with others and has prevented them from understanding and sharing their feelings. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks may be technology-based but what they are really about is relationships. By using technology effectively, we can enhance our relationships rather than becoming distracted from the process of engaging with others.

Instead of spending all day staring at a computer screen, make an effort to limit the amount of computer and television time for non-work and school related activities. When spending time with friends and family members, be present. Put down the smartphone or tablet computer and engage in face-to-face conversations with the people in the room. Social media feeds and emails can wait.

REM sleep is negatively affected by viewing an LCD screen just before falling asleep. Rather than watching TV or using online apps, read a book or have a discussion with your family. Technology should never replace traditional forms of interaction because it is no substitute. However, it can be an effective tool for making introductions and developing relationships enhanced by other efforts.

People who have healthy relationships tend to be happier. Parents, not the Internet or television, teach their children good people skills. Parents should set an example for their children by interacting with others face-to-face rather than only through a computer or telephone screen. They should show children how to use technology for beneficial purposes such as creating social networks that provide personal rewards. Parents must carefully monitor use of technology by their children because there are many traps that lead youngsters down a bad path.

When used properly, social media can be very effective. Legitimate home business owners rely upon social media to expand their professional networks, generating more income. However, they also recognize the importance of face-to-face interaction. Therefore, they limit their social media time and focus on making each online engagement a productive one. By using social media for open, honest communication, they develop long-term customer relationships characterized by trust. This and other forms of technology help small business owners reach large, global audiences.

Educating others about healthy use of technology helps everyone create healthy and beneficial relationships. These networks expand the available personal and business opportunities. Knowing when it is time to use the smartphone, tablet, or laptop to engage with others and when it is time to unplug can make a big difference in the number and quality of your relationships. Life will be much healthier and more rewarding when you develop trusting connections with others.

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