When you are hanging out with your friends, how often do you look into their eyes? Communication is something humans do everyday without even thinking about how we do it. As a young adult and digital native, I know the impact social media has that most humans do not recognize. For example, when I hang out with my roommates, the majority of the time, their faces are glued to their phones, and we do not communicate as much as we should.
Misuse of social media damages people’s relationships.
You can gain greater self-awareness and improve your self-esteem by reducing your time on social media platforms. Studies show that people who spend a significant amount of time on social media have poor communication skills and experience depression and anxiety from comparing their life to others. For instance, I noticed my self-esteem and confidence going down after I started spending an extreme amount of time on social media. Ask yourself: how often are you communicating through social media?
Then, ask yourself this: out of all of those conversations, how many of them feel as genuine as face-to-face communication? Many of you may have different answers, showing that social media affects the way humans communicate for a range of reasons.
Social media is a convenient way to interact and communicate with others, but it deteriorates the emotional connection and overall quality of the conversation. In-person conversations hold a multitude of things, such as body language, tone of voice and eye contact that is not used when having a conversation on social media. Using social media as one of your main sources of communication is decreasing the quality of interpersonal communication skills.
The Pew Research Center reports that 90% of young adults use social media compared to 12% in 2005. This proves that social media use has increased and is still increasing. This also shows that our social skills are being tested, being that many now have difficulties interacting in typical conversations. “Social media is changing the global tourism culture. Common themes emerged from social media research, such as conceptualisation of connection and disconnection, the impact of technologies on the traditional physical spaces of backpackers.” This is showing that the media is changing the way we view ideas and how we connect with others.
People are not aware that even when they are with one another in person, they are still on their devices for the majority of the time, which is taking the personal interaction and connection away.
The way people communicated before social media was very limited. Many people depended on face-to-face interactions and sometimes phone calls. In today’s social-media-filled generation, people tend to not know how to communicate with others outside the media. People use social media as a blanket of security, knowing that they do not have to talk to people in reality.
Social media is not going to go away; it is only going to expand, which is going to continue to hurt our relationships and our communication skills.
Although it is hard to avoid social media as a whole, there are different things we can do to prevent social media from tarnishing people’s relationships and our communication skills. Limit the time you spend on social media apps and how often you’re checking up on your feed.
There are tons of benefits for limiting your time on social media. Now, next time you are hanging out with your friends, let’s see how often you can look into their eyes.
Chloe Schwartz is a third-year Media and Culture major. CS907998@wcupa.edu