Social interactions are the basis of human relationships. People require a social environment because socialization is one of the key features of human nature. It can be said that people play a very important role in the life of each other even if there are no family ties. The thing is the perception of oneself by others. It can be called socialization when a person gains a certain reputation (good or bad), image (positive or negative), and develops certain relationships in the social environment this individual lives.
Before the advent of the information technologies, social interactions were limited but much more intense than today. People had face-to-face meetings every day and talked to each other personally. It was necessary to look good, be successful and educated, for example, to have a good image and a strong reputation. Today, it might not be necessary when someone writes about oneself on the pages of a blog or social network, trying to impress the audience or interlocutor. The modern world with its technologies and global computer networks has made the world much smaller and facilitated the communication process substantially. However, it has made people far more distant from each other than ever before. It can be said that the use of electronics negatively affects social interactions.
The internet has made the world different. The gigantic leap in the technologies had provided humankind with opportunities, unimaginable fifty years ago. It is indisputable that the use of electronics has numerous advantages today. Mobile technologies assure the communication of billions of people around the world eroding the borders and barriers between the nations and even civilizations (Lai et al. 375). People become closer and more interconnected.
Experiences, traditions, technologies, and other advancements of various nations can be shared easily, using communication technologies of today. The scientific collaboration of the various countries would not be so effective if not the use of technologies that facilitate communication, shared work on different projects, and even a simple data collection process that exploits wireless technologies, for example.
Electronics is everywhere these days, and it reshapes the world. Before the internet, Android, iOS, and smartphones, people had the opportunity to send letters, talk to each other by phone, and that was it. Business operations were conducted much slower. Healthcare industry professionals had no chance to embrace the experience of colleagues throughout the world promptly. The world’s economy developed using the methods of the 19th century: more raw materials, more production, more consumption, and so on. Computers, mobile phones, and the internet have made the world live much faster. Electronics has provided people with new methods of socialization (Lai et al. 376).
People realized that these methods give them tremendous freedom. Today, anyone who has a smartphone connected to the internet can communicate with billions of people around the world (Drago 14). It is the dream of any utopist and science fiction author of the 19th and 20th centuries. Electronics has made it possible. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and many other online communication hubs have united millions and billions of people from all corners of the world. However, people have become more isolated and disconnected from each other and society than in the pre-internet era.
The reason is the unique opportunity that electronics and the subsequent information technologies have provided to modern people. A regular internet user can communicate with someone and build personal relationships with someone he or she has not ever seen in person (Drago 15). One might say “so what?” and would be partially correct because these modern means of communication allow personal communication in various forms like video chatting, photos sharing, and other similar ones.
However, such an approach to communication is rather tricky because of its nature. Impersonal communication allows people to have a pause to think about what to say, how to present oneself, and how to react to the situation (Drago 16).
Chatting, for example, cannot be called a comprehensive communication method because people do not see the body language and cannot be sure in the sincerity of the people they talk to at the moment. It is very easy to abuse someone being thousands of miles away from this person. Such communication gives freedom to be free from the moral boundaries. Thus, people learn to be hypocritical to a certain extent. The biggest problem today is that children learn this style of communication that does not require socialization skills and they learn it at the early stages of their socialization process (Radesky, Schumacher & Zuckerman 1).
It is hard to find a child today that does not have a smartphone. The most favorite communication method of the modern children is messaging in the various messengers because it is much simpler and easier than to talk in person or using voice in the phone talk (Radesky, Schumacher & Zuckerman 1). It is much easier to hide emotions and avoid complicated situations that inevitably occur during the face-to-face communication process. Such a communication process does not teach children how to build interpersonal relationships. It provides the opportunity to avoid communication issues but not to learn how to resolve them successfully.
Finally, electronics distracts people from social interactions. Video games, web surfing, online multiplayer games, and many other distractions exist that could steal the time that could have been spent on communication with relatives, spouses, or friends. People simply lose interest in reality and people around them (Stout par. 5). Internet addiction, video game addiction, and other mental disorders are already associated with the use of electronics.
It can be concluded that the use of electronics negatively affects mental health, not to mention the issues with social interactions. There is no need to have a degree in medicine to see that there is a problem with social interactions if to observe how modern people behave in public. Most of them see their smartphones or tablets only, even being part of some company. People overuse electronics these days, and it may lead to severe consequences (Stout par. 8). Social skills become unnecessary, but the internet cannot replace reality. Therefore, people with a lack of such skills may suffer from isolation and the inevitable mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and others.
Summing, it can be said that the use of electronics has a certain negative influence on social interactions. Modern technologies have indisputable benefits for contemporary society. However, the drawbacks of electronics use (or even overuse) today are present and rather obvious. People lose connection with reality and thus, become unable to communicate effectively in real life. It affects children as well. The overuse of electronic means of communication can have severe consequences for the mental health of the societies of the entire world. The negative impact can be mitigated in the case of paying more attention to face-to-face social interactions.
Drago, Emily. “The Effect of Technology on Face-to-Face Communication.” The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications 6.1 (2015): 13-19. Print.
Lai, Chih-Hung, Chunn-Ying Lin, Cheng-Hung Chen, Hwei-Ling Gwung, and Chia-Hao Li. “Can Internet Usage Positively or Negatively Affect Interpersonal Relationship?” Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies 20 (2013): 373-382. Print.
Radesky, Jenny, Jayna Schumacher, and Barry Zuckerman. “Mobile and Interactive Media Use by Young Children: The Good, the Bad, and the Unknown.” Pediatrics 135.1 (2015): 1-3. Print.
Stout, Hilary. “Antisocial Networking?” The New York Times. 2010. Web.