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Together, but apart or apart, yet together

Together, but apart or apart, yet together
It is generally accepted that relations in the digital age have become less warm and more formal, and gadgets alienate people from each other. Irina Lukyanova* sees into whether these myths are true, and users of different generations, from 15 to 78 years old, help her in this.

Myth 1. Information technology separates fathers and children, creating an insurmountable gap between generations — Most likely not

Most educated families don't have that problem. Children, even digital natives, up to a certain age know way less about their media space than their parents, who still remember FIDO. And from some age they can know much more, but still, within a certain subculture.

Parents do not have to pull up their pants to run after the zoomers (this is how sometimes the representatives of generation Z are called, born after 2004) and learn slang and today's memes that are becoming obsolete. Nevertheless, being in the same information field gives parents and children a sense of communication as opposed to estrangement, just like general topics for conversation, and sometimes general memes as well. "No, of course, if the parent is a full-on Australopithecus, which does not require anything new, there will be a gap between generations.". (А., 21 год).

Myth 2. People of the digital age have forgotten how to read and write letters to each other — Most likely not

People of the digital age read more than before, but this reading is of a different nature: more letters, but less longreads. Written speech ceased to be the main medium of information; the place of letters was replaced by short and more frequent messages. Folks, even when they are far from each other, can still stay in touch - and you can send not only words, but also photos, and videos, and audio messages - and this is also a modern way to be near and present. Messengers help to exchange large volumes of information, which neither letters nor landlines gave.

Myth 3. If everyone sits behind his computer/gadget, this divides people and leads to loneliness — Most likely not

In fact, social networks and online communities of interest have been giving people the opportunity to find people who are close in spirit and hobbies, with whom they have formed long-lasting friendships, for many years. This is true not only for a generation of children, but also for a generation of parents. Confident computer users aged 70+ actively communicate with friends and relatives via Skype (normal people, of course, no longer talk on it, one of the respondents said) and in social network messengers; 40-50 year old parents spend more time in the media than their children, although the structure of media consumption may differ. “I found most of my close friends through the Internet, and these are now very old friendships, they are 15-20 years old, it was still the era of forums, conferences, LJ ...” (O., 50 years old). “My sister and brothers, they all live in other cities, but we talk every night. I wish there was skype when my mother was alive!”(K., 78 years old).

Myth 4. People have forgotten how to communicate with each other, communication was reduced to the exchange of links and emoji — Most likely not

For people to enjoy each other's company, they don’t have to talk all the time. They can be near one another without words, but exchange touches, smile, or laugh at a stupid GIF together. “We can throw off a meme to each other, look through instagram feed together, watch vidos with ridiculous cats, but be close to each other” (A., 21 years old). “If we need to talk seriously and discuss something important, we will rather make an appointment and talk without phones” (V., 22 years old). “Of course, I’ll go see my friends in person when faced with life or death questions, if there is an appropriate opportunity and time, not at three in the morning.” (M., 15 years old.) And the exchange of links and emoji is more of a form of chilling. “When you feel bad, it is very important to know that it is at this time that you can find someone to rely on who is in touch and can talk to you. Then you feel not so lonely and hopeless. ”(S., 15 years old).

Myth 5. Previously, people met and talked, but now they meet up and look at their phones — No rather than yes

 If we look back on the pre-Internet times, it turns out that even then in any company there were outsiders who were secluded in the corner with a book, went out for a smoke on the balcony or started an endless conversation with someone in the kitchen. Universal participation in a conversation is more of a memory error: even at a table where no one is looking at gadgets, no more than 3-4 people participate in a general conversation. Pay attention to it next time you hang out with friends. Moreover, there used to be a format “to watch movies / videos together with a big company and comment on it”; Now it has transformed into a joint viewing of one content on different gadgets.

Myth 6. Social networks lead to social irresponsibility: a person can be banned and deleted from a person's life with a single click of the mouse — Most likely not

For most sane people, ban is a preventive measure, sanitation and hygiene: in non-virtual communication we rarely agree to endure an aggressor next to us who attacks us with insults. Unfriending, due to political differences, is unlikely to differ from refusing to shake hands or sit at the same table with someone in the old days. Even the manner of suddenly breaking up with a girl or boyfriend via SMS, and then blocking them on all social networks has its own online counterparts: for example, disappear without leaving a note a week before the wedding. However, the consistent use of unfriending and blocking all opponents really leads to a decrease in life outlook and in critical thinking, and to an increase in intolerance. But can this be considered solely a sign of the digital era?

Myth 7. Permanent access to the gadget leads to distraction, prevents concentration — Most likely true

A gadget with Internet access or even with a simple game makes it possible to distract from disturbing thoughts, hide, not think about them. “The soul relaxes, the hole that is in it is filled with all sorts of rubbish - but it could finish a thought, write it down, draw something, write poetry instead, this makes more sense than consuming unnecessary content. This is a very simple way of existing though: avoiding pain.” (A., 21 years old). On one hand, the habit of distraction protects against pain, overload, allows you to relax and escape. On another hand, it leads to the fact that the search for answers to complex questions is postponed, moved to an uncertain future.

Myth 8. A person who is devoid of a gadget experiences real breakdown. So gadgets are akin to drugs — Most likely not

Withdrawal, or what looks like it, actually happens: a person feels cut off from the important and familiar channel for receiving information, and his level of anxiety rises rapidly. So mothers are worried when the child is not at home for a long time, and he does not get in touch for a long time. And some people cannot walk around the city in headphones: not hearing the sounds of the world around them, they are anxious, it seems to them that they may not hear something important, and won't recognize the danger in time. Does this mean that the child or the sounds of the world are drugs?

Of course, when there is no habit of reflection, talking with oneself, focusing on one’s own thoughts, one does not have the ability to peer into the world around him, observe it, analyze it, but there is only a craving for a quick change of surface impressions, life without a gadget can seem painful, especially at first. “When you are lying somewhere in a tent, and not just without Internet, but you are outside the coverage area of mobile communications, you have nowhere you can hide from your thoughts. Even if you;re reading a book, you are still with yourself at that time ”(B, 20 years old). “I had an actual withdrawal when, for example, the light in the apartment was cut off or my mother forgot to pay for the Internet. It takes three to four days. At first it sucks, then it's good ”(G., 22 years old). “About ten years from now there will be a trend: they will start selling tickets to digital detox rehabs, with jammers. Such a good idea for a startup!”(B., 20 years old).

Myth 9. In the Tinder era, people don’t value acquaintances: there is an illusion that you can always replace old acquaintances with new ones — Mostly yes, but..

In any generation of respondents there are not so many stories of a successful search for a partner through Tinder, but there are many funny or sad stories of failure. Dating through Tinder also sooner or later leads to normal human relationships, where there is still charm and frustration, happiness and pain, life together and separation, real, not virtual. “My friends are using Tinder and choosing men the same way I choose winter boots somewhere in an online store. This destroys all chemistry in relationships. Came here, chose the goods, took it. And there is a feeling that if this product is defective, I will throw it away and buy a new one. By the way, employers have the same thing. They have this illusion that there are no irreplaceable people, they will dismiss this employee now, and there are thousands more candidates standing under the door, one is better than the other. This makes the search very complicated, it seems to every employer that among the thousands of candidates he will find someone much better.” (E., 29 years old).

“But the good thing is that with Tinder people can match whereas in life they belong to very different social layers, and might never meet, and here they have a chance to impress each other. In this sense, it’s good that the Internet reduces the distance between people and makes completely impossible meetings possible, after a few reposts you can reach almost any person on the globe, if you need him for some reason, even ask a Hollywood star to star in your low-budget project.” (A., 21 years old).

*Irina Lukyanova is an expert trainer of the project “The Earth Is Flat - How to Read Media?”, writer, teacher and journalist. A correspondent for Novaya Gazeta, a literature teacher at the "Intellectual" School. She worked on many educational projects. She is the author of creative writing courses for teens and adults at the Creative Writing School, the author of several books, and has master classes on teaching and bringing up children and teenagers for parents and teachers.

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