One of the most essential keys in raising a Rottweiler puppy is excessive socialization. At least, when I decided after nearly six years of thinking about owning a Rottweiler, the research repeated itself with such intensity that socialization became anything but an option.
Raising animals isn’t like raising children. The case of early socialization, however, plays an important role in every young life. In order to be more confident in the real world and overall lead a pleasant, happy life, socialization is needed in everyone. But as our world is changing, how is our socializing changing?
The medical definition of socialization is the process of learning one’s culture and how to live in it. But, from a more personable view, the primary purpose produces feelings of happiness, reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. Consequently, this improves the quality of life and longevity. For years, the human race has depended substantially on socialization. In 1974, 44% of Americans said they had spent a social evening with neighbors more than once a month. However, in 2008, that number had dropped just over 30%.
Sociologists argue that Americans are increasingly choosing to live in more like-minded communities, meaning people are attracted to living with similar types, meaning they do not want to spend much time with them.
Rather, our generation has been focused around—but not limited to—modern technology.
While Americans have become more resilient toward immigrants and other cultural changes, they are still like minded in the sense they would rather text than call. The question is, how is this generation going to change American socialization because of technology interfering?
It’s not so much a question. 65% of Americans use social networking sites. Though ‘social’ is in the word, communication through media isn’t really communicating that much at all; it’s connecting, not interacting. Adults spend 20-28 hours a week on social media, yet only 11% see these connections on a daily basis. Such popular sites, such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram allow people to have followers and post statuses. But, fundamentally, it’s changing the way we build and maintain relationships. The gist is we are staying in relationships; but the overall average is, there isn’t very much depth to these relationships.
How many people sleep with their phones next to their bed? Keep it in their pocket or purse? Take it with them everywhere even if they aren’t expecting a call? We have become incredibly dependent on our devices than actual people we see and talk to—but scarcely get to know.
Most would agree it’s convenient have an escape when in line, waiting for the bus, or during awkward silences. Updating our status and beating our high score seem to be more important than the human being standing right next to us.
While technology offers a multitude of wonderful things, we are still capable of missing out on a lot of human interaction—as well as beauty around us—when we are consumed with the device in our hand. We miss the opportunity to meet someone, to be encouraged, or to encourage someone else.
From experience, I know that talking to the person behind you in line while waiting in Starbucks ends up being more fulfilling than seeing what your friends from junior high are doing miles away. It’s true that keeping in contact is a good thing; but why obsess over it when there are so many new things ahead?
At this point in life, chucking your phone, deleting your accounts, and never looking at a screen again isn’t exactly something to consider. But why play Candy Crush and scroll through photo after photo of someone your rarely see (which you can do at home if you really want) instead of possibly enjoying a new experience?
Truthfully, the human race is fascinating. How did we manage to forget that something artificial is more important and interesting? By taking into account how unique every individual is, we can become inspired and get ideas from each other instead of perform the same repetitive tasks of the same games and social media. Socialization is all about interacting with one another.
Social media isn’t going anywhere. The people in front of you are.
Moments are fleeting, and it’s up to us to take advantage of every opportunity to connect with someone and realize we’re not from different planets. We’re all human. And we all need each other.
This article was written by McKenna Vietti, a writer for dusk magazine.