Is The Internet Hurting Social Wellbeing?
Is the internet the death of communication and social interaction? Find out how social media and internet usage affects human connections.
At one end of the spectrum are those who claim that , with social media sites like Facebook, the internet has let individuals to improve their social lives more than ever before. On the other side fence are those who claim that the increased time individuals spent bouncing around on the internet have become progressively more excluded from others, and are lacking in actual socialization.
Science is now beginning to have its say.
Research done at the Stockholm School of Economics looked at the connection between peoples’ use of the internet and their results on a variety of different measures of social wellbeing, such as emotional health and work life balance.
Dr. Elizabeth Engleberg, lead author in the study, found that individuals with who had high internet use were markedly lonelier and had a porrer work life balance than those with low internet use.
This results strongly substantiates the hypothesis that the social media cannot take the place of actual socialization. It seems that no matter how much people communicate through social media, they do not find the actual human connections that they require.
What’s more, it looks that too much use of the internet also prevents people from acquiring the skills essential to interact with others. Dr. Engelberg found that individuals who spent a lot of time online had lower scores on scales of emotional intelligence and social skills.
It is a tragedy that the people who most need to learn how to communicate with others are the ones using the internet the most.
Unfortunately, that intuitively makes sense: if people have struggles interacting with others, they are less likely to take part in social interaction. Instead, they spend more time in solitary activities, such as surfing the web.
But in doing so, these individuals don’t have the chance to improve their communication skills. They’ve entered a downward spiral, where they spend more and more time online and become lonelier, but never feel comfortable interacting with others.
To escape this downward cycle, people need to turn their computers off, interact, and create actual human bonds with others.
As Dr. Engleberg’s study exhibited, this is vital. Evermore so, in a world where people are spending increasing time online.
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