Real-life Interactions versus Technology

Posted on October 11, 2018

Most people around us are online on social media platforms almost all the time, given how convenient it is to access social media and text messaging apps. Although online interactions facilitate one’s psychological well-being, helps people stay connected with one another and preserve close relationships, the effects of social media can also be negative.

Many people also like being online while spending time with their friends and families in real-life, reason being that social media acts as a tool to make time spent in real-life more fun and sentimental, such as posting a picture of the gathering on social media or sharing information from the net that are relevant to that current conversation. It also helps to mask one’s disinterest in another person from the group gathering.

In addition, people are generally bad at multitasking, phone usage can be a form of distraction from being involved in real-life interactions. Studies have shown that people who find their partners constantly distracted by their phones, are less satisfied with their romantic relationships.

It is advised to constantly practise the “Rule of 3”. The rule states that if there are 5 or 6 people sitting together during a gathering, one should ensure there are at least 3 people paying attention to the speaker before it is alright to temporarily mentally exit from the conversation and turn to their phone. This will keep conversations light and superficial. It is backed up by a study proving how just having a phone present in the room even when one isn’t using it, makes conversations feel less personal.

It is proven that when it comes to online interactions, the more the better. Having more social interactions via texting and social media contributes to in-person social communication and makes one feel more socially connected. However, text messaging or engaging in social media usage can be distracting and affect one’s satisfaction level of an in-person interaction.

Most people usually feel less satisfied and less socially connected when they tried to balance real-life interactions with online interactions at the same time as compared to solely focusing on the real-life interaction. However, doing both at the same time is more fun than solely interacting with people through online means. Although people might feel less connected and less satisfied when they engage in both real-life and online communication at the same time, it does not necessarily mean that it negatively affects real-life interactions. In fact, the opposite might occur instead.

We tend to use our phones during real-life interactions when we are bored or just not emotionally engaged or fulfilled with the ongoing conversation. However, some conversations are worth trying to stay involved in. During future gatherings with your close friends, families or people who you genuinely care about, resist the temptation to use your phone and be entirely engaged in the conversation.

Category(s):Life Purpose / Meaning / Inner-Guidance, Mindfulness, Positive Psychology

Source material from Psychology Today