Family & Technology

February 19, 2008 - 0 Comments

Yesterday a large percentage of us who work in the Province of Ontario celebrated a day off with the first ever statutory holiday in honour of families. The third Monday in February was recently designated as Family Day. So what does this have to do with high tech? Lots. A break from routine allows for a little more contemplation on life. At risk of sounding melodramatic, it’s truly amazing how technology has eased the ability to remain connected with family who are out of state or even country. It wasn’t long ago that academics and psychologists fretted over email and how it was going to kill interpersonal communications. Admittedly, I initially fell into that school of thought. But compared to sitting down, writing a letter, finding a stamp, and then posting a letter – email is lot less painful. It’s that simplicity that leads to its pervasiveness and frequency. We’ve moved a long way since those early days of simple messages to the point where seniors in their 70s & 80s, who are still challenged by TV and cable remotes, can attach photos and forward documents. If my own tech challenged parents can do this, then it’s truly a pervasive technology!!!Now the next wave has become entrenched – video. While email is a great way to stay in contact with family, it just doesn’t convey the nuance, humour, or sarcasm that real-time sight and sound convey. It’s that live video interaction that will increase the frequency and ease at which families communicate. Not many predicted pervasiveness of video in the mid 1990s, but I haven’t seen any recent articles from those who predicted the demise of human interaction via email. Maybe they’d be up for a Telepresence session to discuss?

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