When Bitkom, a German broadband association, surveyed 1,000 Germans, ages 19-29, asking them what they'd pick if they were forced to choose between their spouses or Internet connections and cars or cell phones, technology won out big time, reports Reuters.
A staggering 84 percent of survey respondents reported that they'd rather drop their partner or car than give up their Internet connection.
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But this doesn't mean that "the Web is an anonymous medium that leads to social indifference," Bitkom president August-Wilhelm Scheer told Reuters. Indeed, the industry survey also found that one in two people had made new friends via chat forums and Web communities. What's more, 8 percent met a romantic partner online.
A similar poll of 2,119 American adults recently undergone by Intel and Harris Interactive resulted in a similar key finding: 46 percent of women and 30 percent of men said they'd rather give up sex for two weeks than their Internet connections. "The Web creates real relationships and does not result in autism and dehumanization," Scheer told Reuters.
That's funny. While it is many things, a computer is not a living, breathing human being. It's hard to see how interactions carried out through a box of wires can be considered real and compared to a relationship carried out in the flesh.
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Admittedly, it's far easier to communicate with electronics. They don't talk back. They're agreeable. We can turn them off and on. We can pick and choose what we respond to, and when, and craft our words with precision.
But are we not losing something when we forego the human touch, along with endearing human clumsiness and unscripted spontaneity, facial expressions, a glance into another person's eyes for a keyboard and a webcam? Does interacting with technology rather than real live people hamper socialization? Really, how can it not?