Using Smarphones Undermine The Enjoyment of Face-to-Face Social Interactions

Posted on November 24, 2017

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New research published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology suggests that having smartphones around can lead to distraction, which ends up undermining benefits gained from social interaction.

Ryan Dwyer from the University of British Columbia, study author, makes mention of how, "in the last 10 years, smartphones have revolutionized how we live by keeping us constantly connected online". He wanted to know if this might have an impact on real world social interactions and as an example, said: "My family often spends holidays looking at our phones together. Is this bad?"

Two separate studies testing for enjoyment levels during social interaction with/without the presence of smartphones were carried out.

In the first study, which consisted of 300 participants, Canadians were asked to have meal with 3 to 5 family members or friends and were randomly placed into either of 2 groups: those who placed their phones on the table during the meal and those who put their phones away. After the meal, participants and their family/friends were then asked to complete a survey. The meal was rated as less enjoyable and more distracting when the phones were present.

In the second study consisting of another 123 participants, people were surveyed 5 times a day for one week. It was reported that there was lower enjoyment and greater distraction when respondents used their smartphones during face-to-face interaction.

With the conclusion of these 2 studies, Dwyer asserts that the use of phones "during social interactions can decrease how much you enjoy them". In both experiments, the phone was associated with greater boredom and worse overall mood. "This effect may be most pronounced when there is a mismatch in phone use between members (e.g. one person in the group is using their phone, while the other members in the group are not), " Dwyer elaborates.

Phones can be used as great tools, they help make our lives so much more convenient and make knowledge and information so much more available; but people should be mindful about when and where they use them. It is vital that the technology of today does not affect our relationships of yesterday, today and tomorrow.


Source material from PsyPost