In today’s blog, we’re going to talk about how today’s communication in the technology age has taken toll on our relationships and how we can improve on our communication with others... So read on... and Enjoy!
In our article ‘How Can I Communicate More Effectively’ we wrote that communication is the basis of every relationship. However, the rise of alternative methods of communication has taken a toll on how we relate to others. Many people these days tend to communicate primarily through smartphones and social media, foregoing face-to-face interaction. This is a reflection of how we now interact with different types of media. Maryville University reports that in 2016 alone there was a 63% year-over-year increase in global mobile traffic. Not only is this changing how we communicate, it is also changing everything from the type of courses that students can now take to how business is conducted. This is a clear signal of how dominant mobile media has become, which has left little room for relationship building in person. This article will explore how this shift in how we communicate is impacting our relationships, personal and professional alike.
Anti-social tendencies have been on the rise because of smartphones. One study cited by NBC showed that the mere presence of smartphones reduces the quality of conversations among people, even in the workplace. Office meetings will struggle to spark creativity and innovation when people are in front of their laptops or phones. Another study suggests that smartphones actually prevent people from offering help to strangers they pass on the street. Although smartphones bring us closer to people who are far away, they tend to be a barrier between people around us.
Another result of social media is that it has sped up our relationships. Instead of getting to know someone on a personal level through multiple dates, you can just scroll through their Facebook timeline. People have met the loves of their life with the help of various dating applications without even having to leave the confines of their home. Huffington Post shares that in some cases, social media has become an avenue for infidelity because of the multiple people you meet through online games and applications. While it has made meeting people easier, it has also made people and relationships more “disposable”. These cases show how relationships created through social media can have both positive and negative effects, depending on the situation.
The use of social media specifically has had negative effects on how people communicate feelings towards others. Psychology Today discusses the rise of cyberbullying in the U.S. In a study of 5,600 youths between ages 12 and 17, 34% admitted to being bullied online, and 17% admitted that it had happened in the past month. The veil of the computer screen has encouraged many to use social media as a means of attacking others, without the consequences of face-to-face interaction. Author Robert Weis told WebMD how “technology can be a problem when it lets you avoid taking responsibility for your actions”. Many of the people who are bullied online never directly talk to their bully about the incident. This hampers people’s ability to express how they feel through face-to-face interactions.
What can be done to improve modern communication and interpersonal relationships? It’s important to remember that digital methods need not be the cause of anti-social tendencies. There are many good things that can result from these new ways of communication. For example, you can find your long-lost childhood friend through a social media application, or maintain a good relationship with your significant other who has moved overseas. While new forms of communication may affect the dynamics of relationships irreversibly, we can always find ways to make social media and digital devices work to our benefit.
Theresa Rose is a contributing writer with STRETCHYOURSELF teams and is passionate about helping others create effective relationships in business and life.
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