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Growing Leaders Blog

on Leading the Next Generation


Never Lose Your Humanity to Technology

Here’s a sad story.

In Manchester, England, a man was accused of killing his neighbor after a miscommunication triggered by the auto correct spelling feature on the man’s cell phone. It sounds crazy.

It all started when the defendant, 33-year Neil Brook claims he was texting his friend Josef Witkowski. Brook says the auto correct on his cell phone changed the word “mutter” (a mild insult) to “nutter” (apparently a much worse insult). Prosecutors say that triggered a flurry of increasingly abusing texts between the 2 men that eventually led to a deadly confrontation.

Brook allegedly attacked Witkowski with a kitchen knife, stabbing him repeatedly.

The Bolton News says the victim had 104 injuries including cuts, stab wounds, bruises and slice marks on his hands, with the fatal blow piercing his heart.

What is happening to us? While this may be an extreme, it’s not an isolated incident. So many people I know, kids and adults, run into relationship problems because we cannot navigate our way through technology. People have gotten lazy with relationships. We struggle with trust because we’re now used to constant communication instead of waiting on a response and trusting the person with whom we communicate. We cannot read non-verbal cues, or syntax, or tone in a text. On Facebook, you can be anyone you want to be—you can appear how you want to appear by posting photos and comments that may or may not be accurate.

It’s just a thought, but I’m committing myself to insure my cell phone and computer are a “tool” not an appendage to my body. Once in a while, I “fast” from technology and totally unplug. If you feel you’re addicted to it—I suggest you consider doing it too.



  1. Christopher Wesley on February 24, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Tim, great article, I can’t tell you how many time the auto correct has confused communication on my part. I agree that our technology has to be a tool. I’ll never forget what Jim Collins said about technology in Good to Great, “Technology is an accelerator” It can launch us into success or failure. I’m wondering if they’ll start teaching cell phone and FB etiquette in interpersonal communication courses. Maybe they have, I’m not sure.

  2. Chasem971 on March 3, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Hi Tim,

    I recently required a 30 day fast from all electronic games and social media in my house. It was awesome and we were able to set some gpnew ground rules, before introducing the tech back into our lives.

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Never Lose Your Humanity to Technology