How technology has impacted on the family institutions in our country? Introduction Since human beings first fashioned primitive hand tools, technology has continuously transformed the way we life, the nature of our relationships with each other and the manner in which we interact with our environment and nature itself. As we approach the 21st Century, technology is all pervasive in industrial societies and is increasingly impacting itself upon developing countries. It is said that technology affects us from the cradle to the grave. All embracing though that may sound it is an underestimation of what is happening.
Technology now affects us before we are born and in many cases after we die. How and if we are conceived now frequently depends on technology. Once conceived, the fetus will be monitored and in some cases remedial surgery will be undertaken on the child even before it is born. At the other end of the scale even after death, part of us may exist as transplanted organs or as frozen sperm and embryos. It is now perfectly possible to produce offspring many years after one’s death. In consequence, the notion of what it is to be a mother, a father and “to have a family” is being daily re-defined.
It is the most profound definition of socialization within a family when a child simply states that “Families do things together, and Mom and Dad make the rules. ” In an era where there can be miles of physical separation between members of a family on any given day, technology has the effect of keeping them “together” in ways that were not possible even 15 years ago. Impact of the Technological Revolution on the Family: Opportunities and Challenges In every society the family is the primary unit around which society is organized.
The word ‘family’ in many developing countries has a connotation different from that attributed to it in Western industrialized countries. While in industrialized countries a family is constituted of a man, his wife and their children; in many developing countries, particularly those in Africa, the family is made up of a man, his wife/wives and a number of their close blood relations in the same household. It is not uncommon that it would be composed of three generations. The traditional African family is based not only on direct blood ties, but also on several individuals’ awareness of being descended from the same ancestor.
In a traditional family of around 6-10 people, sometimes more, everyone has a role to play for the survival, security, and wellbeing of the family. This includes children above a certain age, usually around 6-7 years old. The individual roles are inter-linked to sustain the family as a social unit. Age is often the decisive factor in determining ones role, rights, and duties within the family. The family depends largely on the productive efforts of its members to sustain itself. The main role of the family is in ensuring the survival, protection, and development of children and to support each other socially, morally and economically.
The family as an institution is changing progressively from the traditional concept of a family to a much smaller unit. The pace of change is quickening and all aspects of life are being affected at once. The consequences are longer-term and they are global. This is why their consideration is so urgent. Education, economic activities, infusion of cultures, religion, migration, urbanization, plus improvements in living standards, to mention only a few factors, all tend to loosen the traditional structure, to make people more individualistic.
They have forced past ways, past customs and practices to adapt, particularly as regards family structures. The growing economic independence of women has widened their margin of negotiation with regard to domestic rights and responsibilities. Couples have had to adapt to a more symmetrical relationship than was common in the past. The stability of this relationship has come to depend more on compatibility between life plans and the similarity of expectations concerning each partner’s role than on adherence to traditional family models.
Undoubtedly, the current changes in family life revolve around the evolution of the status of women. Regardless of what type of union is formed, its viability and stability hinge on the progressive broadening of women’s opportunities for participation in public life and the spread of values that question the traditional division of labor within the family. Demographic and technological factors and changes in occupational, educational and service structures have helped to broaden women’s opportunities for participation in public life.
In the demographic sphere, lower fertility, longer life expectancy and the concentration of production in the initial phase of conjugal union has enabled women to prolong the period during which they have no reproductive responsibilities. Consequently, women have more time for work outside the home. This increase in women’s free time was boosted, on one hand, by rapid advances in domestic technology that cut down considerably on the time required for household chores, and, on the other, by the expansion of social services related to the care and education of children.
At the same time, the notable increase in women’s levels of education have enabled them to take advantage of the new employment opportunities. Despite the dearth of data on families, five global trends in family formation, structures, and function can be inferred from the research record of the last two decades: Women’s average age at first marriage and childbirth has risen, delaying the formation of new families; ·Families and households have gotten smaller; The burden on working-age parents of supporting younger and older dependants has increased; ·Women’s participation in the formal labor market has increased, shifting the balance of economic responsibility in families; and ·The proportion of female-headed households have increased. These trends are not evident everywhere, nor do they tell the whole story of modern family life. They do reveal some of the forces that are shaping the experience of many mothers, fathers, and children in the developing world today and suggest ways in which family aspirations and survival strategies are changing.
The most spectacular evidence of today’s technology is better displayed in the fields of communication and information. Practically everybody has been given speedy and universal access to telephones and media, to computers and internet networks. Within the current economic system, mass production of information and communication devices have created a vast new market for a huge variety of applications. Notable, for example, are the computerized banking systems which resulted in saving considerable time and energy. Credit cards, cash machine, smart cards, online banking, are all new features tending to centralize personal banking perations at home. Communication as an instantaneous mode of interaction enables one to find the individual in any location or hideaway. This is viewed either as an advantage or a loss of privacy. Abundant information, rapidly disseminated everywhere, is shaping a new society and a new economy. The State is heavily dependent on computers and communications, while the decision of defining technology is being taken by private corporations that own the systems. Power is in a process of being transferred from the State, the representative of the nation, to an oligarchy of private interests.
It is often said that “information” is power. One may wonder, however, about such an abundance so widely released, which is likely to confuse or to reach a zero sum equation. Also, as information tends to become more perishable a material, “Power” should be deemed to rest with the proper or tailored information. Discrimination becomes, therefore, a key factor in the efficiency of information. Traditional and new family models are both reflected in the media and the advertisement. This in fact has mirrored the instability of contemporary society as well as the conflict among transitional values.
Western commercials, for instance, generally address the ideal nuclear family, that remains the model alongside the preserved values. At the same time, the news media, the movies and some T. V. industry portray the emergence of manifold families. Thus, such a society has perpetuate the model wherein a majority of people still want to believe in the nuclear “Family”, while ratifying changes it underwent that reject concomitant values. This state of affairs is further exacerbated by the abundance of information and its broad dispersion by the mass media.
Parents can keep track of their children, reassure them if something is going wrong, travel quickly to where they are, know what is going on at school, locate them with GPS technology, and see how the college students are doing with facebook or myspace accounts. At home, there is the ability to either order a quick meal so that everyone can sit down together for dinner, or to cook and interact while the children are doing their homework in open plan family rooms and kitchens. Multi player games or movies that are shown on the big screen allow families to engage in group entertainment.
Even the traditional board game, with new technology and design features, remains a favorite activity. These days, even an interactive tennis, golf or other sport can be played inside on a rainy day. Furthermore, as teachers and school districts look at technology, many view technology as an avenue to increase parent and family involvement in the students’ education. Parental involvement is something that is desired by many teachers, but some do not know how to increase the involvement from students’ parents and families.
Technology is an appropriate answer to this serious and difficult dilemma that teachers face year after year when trying to get parents involved. If teachers can see the advantages to using technology to communicate with families and use technology correctly to do this, they will also see improvement within their students. This involvement through technology can manifest itself in many forms: classroom websites, emails, grades posted online, etc. With these tools incorporated into the classroom, families are now more than ever before becoming involved in the education of the student by being aware of what is going on in the classroom.
Twentieth-century technology, particularly that of the last two to three decades, has radically transformed the traditional household. Tasks which traditionally took hours to accomplish can now be done in a matter of minutes. With this reality, wives are able to seek employment outside home or take on outside work which can be done at home. The advances in modern technology have meant that basic economic pressures are being taken off an increasing number of people, living standards are rising, bringing with them the prospect of a more secure, and more satisfying family life.
There is a new kind of companionship reflecting the rise in the status of the young wife and children which is one of the great transformations of our time. There is now a new approach to equality between sexes and, though each has its peculiar role, its boundaries are no longer so rigidly defined, nor performed without consultation – husband and wife are partners. Negative aspects of Technology on Families: Technology has the ability not only to enrich our lives in ways many of us could not have imagined, but it also has the ability to irritate and even enrage.
The abundance of information, becoming ever more ubiquitous actually threatens individual privacy. Within the family, this output of technology impacts negatively on domestic relations between family members. Internet and e-mail, as personal extensions of the individual, are highly demanding and time consuming. They serve as a factor that can mitigate family cohesion. This fact attests to the wide range of specific interests members of the family can develop with many other individuals outside of the family environment and who seem to exist only on the screen but are nevertheless influential.
This raises the question of the useful expansion of inter-communications, or the intrusion of dissenting opinions, or beliefs. Efficiency of information is also another issue, particularly how it specifically permits sound decision making within the family. Due of the need for a computer to development the education give them the opportunity to have full access to a dangerous world and made the youth of day less resourceful in their education and it becomes one of the plagiarism tool, because every information is accessible over the internet.
They spend more time in the internet and give less time to their families. Also, the computers have made them lazy and they want to play more computers games instead to playing some physical games. Before the arrival of the computers, the teens spend much time and effort in their manual typewriters doing their work. Now, these teens have ease in encoding. Concomitantly, individual rhythms and distinct perceptions of time pervade family life, since each member is affected by a differential acceleration of time that leads to a de-synchronization of the family.
This uneasiness results apparently from the distinct paces involved by family members in absorbing the rapid technological changes. In addition, as individuals most of them gain diverging views and interests in light of their own distinct channels of information and communication, which tend to prevail over intra-family values. As a result, each member is inclined to have his or her own agenda, to the extent of detachment from the community. To characterize family, the only valid criterion would then be “common residence”, though this is not evident.
To conclude we can say that technology has created both surprising opportunities for families to interact, Throughout our broad review, technology stood as a remarkable tool of human power over the natural and social environment. More than anything else, it has proved to be a time saver, that creates a new reality which becomes more true as most people have adhered to it, while also creating opportunities for families to have far too much isolation from each other.