In the News: Social Technologies' Kevin Osborn on Texting Grandma

THE MIAMI HERALD, May 24, 2008 — “Technology has changed the way families stay in touch, profoundly influencing not only how often we communicate, but also what we share with each other,” writes Miami Herald reporter Ana Veciana-Suarez in a May 24 article.

“But does more mean better?” she asks. Some she interviewed said yes, such as Pam Haldeman, a professor of sociology at Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles. “I didn’t always feel this way, but now I think it’s great,” Haldeman said. “It certainly has increased interaction between family members, and we can reach far and wide to people who would’ve been lost to us a generation ago. It’s a win-win situation.”

Veciana-Suarez got a different reaction from Social Technologies futurist Kevin Osborn: Kevin Osborn, author of several parenting books and a futurist for the research and consulting firm Social Technologies isn’t as enthusiastic. While cellphones, webcams and computers allow us to correspond from faraway places and at unusual times, the information exchanged tends to be simplistic.

‘‘Because we communicate more often it doesn’t mean it’s more meaningful communication,’‘ he says. ``Technology is great for people separated by long distances, but that same technology is used to avoid communication with people in the same room. Now you have Dad watching TV, Mom on the cellphone, Sister IMing on the computer and Brother playing video games — all in the same house.’‘