Online communication: Is it influencing our relationships?

Communication methods have changed over the 21st century.  In the previous century, people would send letters, place telephone calls on land lines, or talk to each other in person.  While these methods are still used today, the internet has changed the manner and the speed in which individuals communicate with one another.  For example, most Canadian families and individual’s have a personalized computer and access to the internet (Gross, 2004; Valkenburg & Peter, 2007).  When the internet first became popular, people would send e-mails as their main form of communication. Presently, however, the internet has become the status quo in all social settings; with emailing, instant messaging, and online networking sites (e.g., Facebook) being used as standard modes of communication.

Since online communication has become a standard, it would be interesting to determine how relationships are affected by the lack of human contact.  Individuals may feel as if they are connected to their friends, family, peers, etc. but how does the use of technology influence the quality of human interactions? We may be in contact more but are we communicating less?  Since 90% of communication is non-verbal and people tend to more direct in how they communicate online:  are we then communicating less and reducing the quality of our relationships?

Human beings were created to be in relationships with others. If you look at young children and adults who have been deprived of human contact, they have serious social and emotional development issues among other things.  Therefore, how do how do you maintain the much needed human contact? I mean in times of sadness, a real hug is better than an emoticon hug.  However, the emoticon is still appreciated :) Check out the video of what some people are doing to maintain human contact in a digital age.


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