Does Technology or the Internet Make People LESS Connected?

I was recently witness to a debate at a local gathering that began when one man angrily claimed that people who live on their cell phones and laptops are “selfish” and “not connected with people”.

His statement turned into a long discussion with people as young as a woman in her early 20′s to a gentleman in his 70′s speaking their opinions. Interestingly, the youngest one in the bunch was the most reasonable. She agreed that many behaviors are impolite. She reminded everyone that we each make our own choices and what is felt as “right” for some may be considered “wrong” to others. There is no such thing, another person said, as the “right” way to do things. Who decided things are not perfect as they are?

The first man insisted that people can’t be connected or involved in their environment around them when their face is glued to a computer device or their ear has a cell phone attached to it. He finds this selfish and the beginning of the end of humanity because we’re not caring about each other and ignoring one another until we’re free to come out of our techno-trance.

Other people love that technology gives us search engines, social sites and email. (Not to mention new medicine, better healthcare, environmental advances….) They say they are more connected then ever. It was agreed that many people are rude with their cell phone usage. But again, by whose definition of what is proper usage? Who decided that overhearing conversions or cell phones blasting in meetings is wrong? What moral code is broken when people don’t pay attention to their environment? How do we define “dangerous”? One person gave several examples of how even our definition of “dangerous” is biased and based on lack of information, fears, and myths.

It was a debate with no winners and many opinions. Oddly enough, I kept my mouth shut and just listened. I’ve seen this topic brought up before, but without the idea that maybe everything is as it should be.

Are you fed up with how technology has changed our habits and behavior towards one another? Does the Internet make you feel disconnected physically from people or perhaps more spiritually connected (energy, spirit to spirit, etc.)?

Who decides what is right or wrong behavior or social rules as each new type of technology is developed and brought to the masses?