Monday, March 14, 2011

Shrinking the Globe

Since the creation of instant messaging and text messaging people across the globe have become increasingly more connected. Distance, which previously made communicating on a regular basis extremely costly or impractical, is no longer a problem. While text messaging still cost money, texting plans are now fairly affordable and there are a number of free instant messaging programs available over the Internet.

These innovations in global communication have been greeted by the military with mixed feelings. In the recent New York Times article “Staying in Touch With Home, For Better or Worse”, the benefits and downsides of these increases in communication between military families are explored.

The ability to be constantly connected with your loved ones while deployed overseas is a very attractive idea to many of our service men and women in the Armed Forces. Yet there are definite downsides that go along with this constant communication. Commanders fear that instead of focusing on the job at hand many soldiers will become preoccupied with problems at home while deployed. This preoccupation could lead to decreased battlefield performance.

The morale boost brought about by feeling more connected to loved ones at home is a definite plus brought about by these new technologies, but is this increase in morale worth the potential risks? For now the Pentagon has decided to allow this stream of constant connectivity to persist, yet there will undoubtedly be more discussions regarding these technologies places on the battlefield in the near future.

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