The invention of internet, cell phones and other kinds of high-technological communication devices at the end of 20th century certainly changed the living of mankind. We now live in a more globalized world and we can easily reach other people and news in different parts of the world through internet and cell phones. Similar to the effects of Industrial Revolution, the new communication skills allow people and firms to produce more in a cheaper and easier way. However, the facilities that the communication revolution brought are overshadowed by the negative effects of this new technology. The new man emerged after communication revolution -homo communican- is certainly more lonely and addicted to internet and technology. In this paper, I will discuss the positive and negative effects of communication revolution and I am going to argue that although there are some negative consequences, communication technology is beneficial for humans and for our world if it is used in a more organized and conscious way.
There is no doubt that the new communication technology brought many advantages to human beings. People now make correct calculations and they do not make spelling mistakes but at the expense of what? According to Lucien Sfez, although the new man emerged after communication revolution -the homo communican- thinks he is the master, “he is unaware of his chains because he believes himself to be in control and as powerful as the machines”. Homo communican more and more gets use to idleness and he loses many of his skills since he leaves all these works to machines. Sfez thinks that homo communican can be creative but he is dependent on technology and he does not have real freedom because of his dependences. In other words, machines “make men into idle and superfluous creatures who no longer do much on their own initiative”.
Children who are raised in contemporary world will certainly carry and reproduce the consequences of this new life. Susan McKay, Crispin Thurlow and Heather Toomey Zimmerman in their article “Wired whizzes or techno-slaves? Young people and their emergent communication technologies” try to analyze the demographic reality of “net generation”. In their view, the new generation raised in the conditions of communication revolution has some new characteristics such as strong independence and autonomy, emotional and intellectual openness, greater social inclusion with technology, free expression and strong views, investigative interest in technology and sensitivity to corporate interest. Through e-mailing, online chat rooms, blog and online gaming sites and other means children develop their own cyberculture. Language and habits change in this new context but unlike Sfez McKay, Thurlow and Zimmerman do not think that this trend will necessarily cause negative consequences although there are some risks.
As far as I am concerned, although communication revolution created some social problems such as loneliness and fancifulness of new generations, the emergence of a more independent, intellectually open, creative 21st century generation can make the world a better place if a careful balance could be created by governments and families. Families and education systems of countries should encourage children not only for technological devices but also for traditional social activities. Moreover, technology should be taught to be used for benevolent purposes. I think that since we live in a transition period after communication revolution, some problems emerging are very normal and we could get over these problems easily in the next few decades.
- Lucien Sfez, “Slaves of idleness”, http://mondediplo.com/2001/05/14idleness
- Susan McKay & Crispin Thurlow & Heather Toomey Zimmerman, “Wired whizzes or techno-slaves? Young people and their emergent communication technologies”, http://faculty.washington.edu/thurlow/papers/McKay,Thurlow,Toomey-Zimmerman(2005)-chapter.pdf