Your Student Life: You, Me and Technology

January 24, 2023

Technology has brought about amazing tools to connect and foster relationships with those who are not physically nearby. With so many new options for communication such as text messaging, email, social media and video calls, you have the opportunity to connect with people all over the world.

The advancement of technology has undoubtedly provided benefits to how we start and sustain our interpersonal relationships.

Technology is quickly becoming the norm in how a lot of our relationships begin. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, 1 in 5 relationships and 1 in 6 marriages begin online. With nearly 8,000 dating sites in the world, it is easy to see how this number will only continue to grow.

Friendships, romantic relationships, even how you interact with your family has shifted and changed because of the presence of technology. Our interactions now are vastly different than those even just 20 years ago.

With this change in interaction and communication, there must also be a change in how we approach our relationships. Technology plays a role and, unfortunately, for some, it can cause conflict and divide. The amount of social media use, how much is being shared online, and jealousy can all create problems within a relationship.

One issue technology can create is distance in relationships. Whether you are not having deep conversations face to face or are choosing to hide behind a text to express feelings, neither is beneficial in developing a relationship built on open communication and honesty.

By communicating expectations and setting clear boundaries, you can create a more supportive environment for your relationship to thrive. Some examples of topics to discuss and boundaries to potentially put in place:

  • Putting the devices away at mealtime.
  • Setting clear expectations for how public or private do you want to be online.
  • Exploring instances of jealousy – if you feel drawn to checking in on your partners social media and feel jealous of their interactions. Explore where your insecurities are and communicate your needs to your partner.
  • Leaving your phones in another room when going to bed
  • Allocating certain times throughout the day to be ‘phone-free time’ – phone free dates is also a great idea!
  • Don’t get out your phone from your pocket/backpack/bag as soon as you get to your destination. If it never leaves your bag there is less temptation to look at it. Exception here – if you are letting someone know you arrived safely, but then put it away!

When you are sitting on your devices instead of interacting, you are not enjoying shared experiences which can help to foster and build relationships. To remedy this, find activities to enjoy together, i.e. instead of playing games on your devices while sitting in the same room, get out a board game and play together. This is just one example, there are lots of opportunities to enjoy a shared experience on campus. Visit the Student Activities website to view their events calendar and plan your tech-free date/hang out for spring semester!

Ohio State, including Student Life Counseling and Consultation Service, has relationship related resources.  

 

Jordan Helcbergier

Wellness Coordinator
Student Wellness Center
Office of Student Life