All individuals in the digital age are fragmented while constantly connected to the Internet through smartphones. They are completely isolated from others, only connected through an online network. True communication or listening has become more difficult. As a result, the lack of the so-called ‘dependent need’ was created. This phenomenon is common in our children growing up in a world always connected by digital technology. Children want their parents to acknowledge and protect their feelings. You want to hear from your parents, “Yeah, you must have felt that way,” and you want emotional recognition. Regarding mistakes, he said, “It’s natural that I can’t do it because I’m young. It’s okay,” and wants to be accepted for inexperience. In other words, I want to be comforted by my parents, I want them to allow me when I want to lean on them, and I want them to express their love in any situation. Such is the need for dependence.
The problem is that in an over-connected digital society, our children and adolescents are prone to suffer from a lack of such a need for dependence. In the MMORG (multiple access role game) or smartphone space, they are always connected with a large number of people. However, the moment you step out of such a virtual network, it is difficult to meet anyone who listens and sympathizes with you in reality. So, as loneliness takes hold deep inside, I want to be more “dependent” and recognized by someone, including my parents.
However, both SNS and virtual technology are just one-time encounters between heterogeneous and fragmented individuals. Although touching or meeting with others is blocked, they are always connected to somewhere, such as KakaoTalk, text message, game, Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok. Just like adults, especially teenagers, they can’t take their eyes off their smartphone screen for even a moment, even when they’re sitting together or with their family. Furthermore, they become indifferent to the suffering of others. They simply look at the pain of others on the screen indifferently, as if they were ‘watching’. Nevertheless, he wants someone to feel his inner pain and look into the wounds. It is a contradictory feeling, but this is also another ‘dependent need’.
However, the digital network that dominates modern human relationships cannot satisfy this “need for dependence.” The digital society thoroughly blocks the intrusion of heterogeneous things, such as opinions different from those of one’s own or the suffering of others. Instead, they only excessively access homogeneous things, and listening and genuine communication do not work well. Efforts to encounter the unfamiliar and unknown, to share experiences, and to expand the range of emotional sympathy are extremely rare.
So, if the need for dependence is not resolved until later in adulthood, the problem becomes serious. They seek gratification from their spouse, children, or others in a very aggressive and selfish way. It can be said to be a skewed expression of the need for dependence. The attitude and mentality of “You have to understand me, if I am emotionally difficult, you have to protect my feelings, and if I need comfort, you have to provide comfort” is ingrained into the body. Growing up as a child, he should have been ‘dependent’ and ‘recognized’ enough to communicate with his parents and other people, but that’s not the case. It is simply because he has grown into a fragmented ‘net netizen’ on the Internet. Belatedly, in order to make up for such a lack, they often make reckless demands from others, but it is not easy to satisfy them. As things like this happen over and over again, anger builds up.
Especially when you are a parent. The lack of dependence needs that he suffered from childhood while raising children is an important obstacle. When their child’s achievements drop, they become impatient, pressure them too much, or develop anger on their own. Growing up without being recognized, I didn’t even learn the so-called ‘how to speak well’. That’s why they sometimes pour out words like ‘blade’ to their children.
What is serious is the fact that people who have unresolved dependency needs can easily rise to anger even with a level of regret. Even things that can go on to just feel a little bad can cause an explosion of anger. It is because they feel that they are being treated as if they are not valuable even in trivial matters. A mod called ‘Why are you ignoring me?’ is built into the mind.
This unfulfilled need for dependence from childhood remains a lifelong trauma. That feeling of lack and complexity never goes away. It constantly works in relationships with family and other people throughout life, and it tries to make up for the lack. It would be nice to be satisfied even if it was late, but the digital world is not so smooth. On the contrary, the more we yearn for the satisfaction of our needs, the more lonely we become. It can be said that it is a distorted portrait drawn by the overconnection in the digital age. If so, can we get rid of the excess access network and satisfy our healthy ‘dependence needs’? So, is it really impossible to restore our healthy life? It is a task that all of us who are trapped in a web of overconnection should ponder.