It is not as simple as saying that online communication is a good, or bad thing. As it is not really a "black & white" issue.
Modern technology, for better or worse, is here to stay. Some forms of technology help us to stay more connected while other forms destroy that connection. I cringe when I hear my patients tell me that they have to text their children within the same house to let them know that dinner is ready because that is the only way their kids will respond. Emails sent around the workplace are becoming more commonplace rather than co-workers going to talk with each other. Social media is thought to keep us more connected with people, but often all we see on there is the amazing vacation that our friends/acquaintances take, or all the bad stuff going on in their lives without being able to connect with them on a personal level. Liking posts on Facebook does not connect us, nor does a simple response to a post. Instead, it is that face-to-face communication where amazing things can happen.
That is why I am grateful for technology that can be “just enough,” at least temporarily, as it allows me to connect with my family who live out of state. Video chat services allow me to have that face-to-face relationship with my nephew, and family. My young nephew will take one of his parents phones, and tell them that he wants to talk with me. I often see the ceiling as he will carry “me” around. There are times when my brother will have to pick “me” up off the floor as the phone will get left there. Other times, “I” end up in a closed cabinet. He’s two and a half years old. Unlike much of the communications technology that we find ourselves using almost compulsively these days, I have been grateful for things like Google Hangouts, Apple’s Facetime, and Skype as I don’t want to miss that little guy growing up. Even tonight, I got to watch him, my parents, and sister-in-law play Wii golf, bowling, and tennis.
Don’t get me wrong as I am excited to see where technology takes us in the future. But I hope we all remember that even with these advances that we also need to take time to check in with ourselves without any technological distractions to, at the very least, ground ourselves. And, if that means getting on a plane to go see our loved ones then it does.