Can Social Media Destroy Real-Life Communication?
As humanity progresses, the way people communicate changes as well, with every year becoming easier and more effective. First, there was post-crossing, then phones were invented, and now, when almost all people have access to the internet, social media is used in order to not only communicate internationally, but also within short distances.
With growing popularity of platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other messaging apps, some started to argue that real-life communication is on the edge of extinction. It is especially dangerous for those who are already growing up using social media. On the other hand, people also suggest that online communication is only improving the state in which people live in, and it is just a matter of time when there will be achieved a great balance between real-life and online communication. What is sure to say is that social media has definitely affected face-to-face interaction in a lot of cases, yet it is up for anyone to make their own decision if this influence is negative or positive.
One of the arguments against excessive use of texting and online communication is the fact that children will not be able to develop verbal skills and emotional intelligence. Dr. Kate Roberts, a Boston-based school psychologist, is an owner of such an opinion, and she blames technologies on the increasing amount of people who have problems with face-to-face communication, saying that “it is like we have lost the skill of courtship and the ability to make that connection” (Johnson). She is also highly concerned about children’s brains changing because they use an easier method of communication, through online media. Yet, some parents are already taking action by limiting the time that their kids spend online, so this problem might be more about good parenting, than about how destructive Instagram and Facebook are.
Some also argue that social media is harming friendships people have in real life. Some studies speculate that a human brain can only handle a friendship with a limited amount of people, about 150 people to be exact (Chesak), which could resonate negatively with social media’s friend groups having no limits. Due to the excessive amount of friends online to communicate with, people could find themselves having not enough time or energy to spend on real-life friends.
These are not the only negative consequences of increasing use of social media. People who text tend to use verbal language less, which could decrease language skills and make it harder to build a structurally correct sentence (“The Negative Impacts of Social Media on Face-to-Face Interactions”). What also needs to be addressed is an increasing problem with social media addiction, which might be more harmless than smoking or drinking, yet it still profoundly impairs the quality of life, and makes it harder to not only communicate in real life, but also perform other essential actions like working, driving, or even eating.
Ordinary people tend to have different opinions even when they are not considering scientific studies, though it is evident that the most popular belief is that online communication is, in fact, harming real-life communication. To the question of whether social media destroys real human relationships, eighty percent of the people on Debate.org answered “yes,” and only twenty percent chose “no” (“Does Social Media Destroy Real Human Relationships?”). People are sharing their opinions that using phones makes people ignore what is happening around them, and online interaction cannot replace face-to-face communication.
There are quite a lot of reasons why people think that social media is affecting real-life communication negatively, yet it has not destroyed it. As it is, for now, people use social media as one of the tools to communicate, and the time when social media will entirely replace face-to-face interaction has not come yet, and it probably will never come, if people try hard enough.
Chesak, Jennifer. “How Social Media Is Taking Away from Your Friendships.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 9 Jan. 2018, https://www.healthline.com/health/how-social-media-is-ruining-relationships#2.
“Does Social Media Destroy Real Human Relationships?” Debate.org, https://www.debate.org/opinions/does-social-media-destroy-real-human-relationships.
Johnson, Chandra. “Face Time vs. Screen Time: The Technological Impact on Communication.” Desert News, Desert News Publishing Company, 29 Aug. 2014, https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865609628/How-technology-is-changing-the-way-we-communicate.html.
“The Negative Impacts of Social Media on Face-to-Face Interactions.” Final Inquiry Project, 1 Dec. 2015, https://rampages.us/peasedn200/2015/12/01/final-inquiry-project/.
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We can’t imagine our life without social media. We communicate, share our emotions, order food, and work online. But what about real-life communication? The author of the social media essay suggests that Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and other services can’t destroy face-to-face interaction, but they certainly may hurt our communication.
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