The advancement of technology has changed how people communicate, giving us brand-new options such as text messaging, email, chat rooms, social media, and video calls. People all over the world have the opportunity to connect and build relationships faster and more effectively.
While some technological inventions bring undeniable benefits in forging interpersonal contacts, others tend to alienate people from their social environment, negatively affecting their relationships. Most of all, the development of technology, namely the Internet, influenced young people’s personal lives. 45% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 27 said that the world wide web significantly impacted how they communicate with others.
As technology and the internet advance, their impact on people’s private life is increasing. According to a study conducted by CompleCase.com, 31% of American couples noted that the Internet influenced their relationships one way or another. 72% of respondents characterized the impact as positive, and 20% as adverse.
Effects of technology on human relationships
All types of relationships in human society, including romantic and between friends, form a complex process influenced by many factors. Among others, the pace of life and technological development can affect relationships differently, depending on the circumstances.
The use of technology can positively and negatively affect relationships between people, facilitate communication, or suppress social activity. As with other aspects of life, there must be a balance, a middle ground between use and abuse. Compliance with specific rules can limit the harmful effects of the modern world on relationships.
More chances to meet someone
Dialogue, communication, interaction, and information exchange are some of the basic human needs. Advances in technology have introduced novel ways of interacting with other people worldwide. The Internet allows people to get to know each other without the fear and embarrassment of face-to-face contact.
Many couples find each other and start relationships through various services on the Internet. These can be both specialized dating sites and social networks. As it happens, a significant part of the formed unions are representatives of different countries. Internet access enables people from various cultures to find and get to know each other.
Distance is not an issue
Modern technology makes communication easier for those separated by a significant distance and who do not have the opportunity to meet very often. You can find almost everyone you need on the Internet and social networks: relatives and friends living in another city or country, classmates, and neighbors.
You can communicate in chats, video calls, emails, and voice messages. Boundaries and distances no longer play a role in networking between people. Now no one will disappear from the circle of your friends just because they have changed their place of residence.
A cure for loneliness
As paradoxical as it may sound, some of us have neither friends nor long-term relationships even with the steady population growth. For people who often feel lonely, technologies such as smartphones and social networks have brought many chances of making new friends, joining online communities, and connecting with people worldwide.
It is often difficult for some of us to express our emotions in person or tell the truth to each other. In such cases, correspondence using various instant messengers or email is a way to find a safe communication space.
Access to information
Communication, as an exchange of information, plays a significant role in our life. Each person being a part of the society continually interacts with other people. The quality of this communication can and should be improved. Many online resources can provide valuable information on how to establish and maintain new friendships and relationships.
Besides, researchers have found that people more efficiently interact with others in various environments and build contacts faster due to access to the Internet and information on social networks.
Technology, mainly the Internet, acts as a mediator between humans and the information environment and creates a sense of belonging to a group of people united by common interests. The members of this group can be scattered all over the world and communicate only through the Internet.
More than half of the Net users say that communication on the Internet creates a sense of freedom, as there are fewer social prejudices and restrictions. When meeting and communicating with someone on social networks and in chat rooms, a person experiences less pressure and fear to say or do something wrong. Thus, communication becomes more relaxed and pleasant.
Disconnectedness with real-life
Excessive time spent in front of the screens of smartphones, tablets, and PCs leads to a narrowing of social contacts of the individual and insufficient satisfaction of information and communication needs in the real world. A person who actively uses the Internet is limited in emotional connections and communication with relatives and friends.
Gradually, social contacts are narrowed, and a person begins to experience difficulties when trying to bond with other people emotionally. Communication begins to cause discomfort, impairing the development of interpersonal relationships. As a result, an overly active user of social networks and the Internet terminates any emotional contact with family members and friends and becomes out of touch with reality.
Lack of non-verbal contact
Human relationships are built on mutual understanding, shared interests, and many other things. When we meet a person, we can almost immediately determine whether we like them or not. And the visual appeal is not always the most important thing. The reason for this is the non-verbal signals sent to us with the gestures and behavior of another person.
Now let’s think about communication via text messages or by mail. We cannot easily understand what kind of person we are dealing with, we do not feel danger where we should, and vice versa, we do not notice a potential best friend. To more fully receive important information, face-to-face contact is an absolute must.
Social networks have significantly shifted the approach towards the concept of privacy in many people’s minds, who regularly reveal all the details about their personal life and even their whereabouts. This behavior can lead to many negative consequences, including even the person’s safety who likes being too open on social media.
Again, anything that lands on your social account page, email inbox, or as a text message can potentially be read, including by your spouse (boyfriend or girlfriend). Many conflicts arise based on information obtained in this way, which significantly harms the relationship.
A significant number of couples note that spending too much time on the Internet or in the company of smartphones and tablets undermines their relationship and causes a lack of mutual understanding. Many would argue that it helps them relax, which is also true. Undoubtedly, an engaging computer game or a good movie helps to avoid depression.
However, the basic rule in such cases is to set time limits. Otherwise, conflict situations may arise, for example, when a partner does not have enough time to communicate or to perform daily duties because of their dedication to modern world distractions provided by technological development.
Safety rules while building relationships on the web.
Communication via the Internet is not the same as talking to people in the real physical world. We often treat virtual communication too carelessly since we cannot see the person we are talking to in a message or turn on the webcam without a second thought to communicate with a stranger.
No one suggests that you should be paranoid, but following a few simple rules is not a bad idea if you want to protect your safety.
Stay discreet and protect your privacy
If you do not want your personal information to become public, do not share it with everyone. Anything you upload to the Internet remains there forever, even if you think you’ve deleted it. You need to be especially careful with those who you’ve just met. Don’t give them any personal information about yourself. First, test the waters, find out about the person’s intentions. If you feel that something is wrong with your new friend, immediately stop communication without any regret.
Be polite and cautious
Refrain from posting derogatory and aggressive comments and do not publish any information that may be negatively perceived. Take care of your image. Before posting any content online, consider how you will look in the eyes of your employer, clients, friends, and family. Keep to yourself everything that you wouldn’t say aloud in front of others. Information can be used to your detriment if it falls into the wrong hands.
Ignore suspicious requests
Be very careful about links and emails that your new friend sends you. Naturally, if you communicate with colleagues or clients, it is merely unprofitable to ignore their letters. If your communication goal is to build friendships or romantic relationships, you can safely do so without downloading potentially dangerous applications or clicking on unknown links. In any case, you should be more careful unless you want to regret your wrong choice later.
The Internet, smartphones, social networks, and other technologies have become an integral part of modern life and, judging by the speed of their development, in the future, their influence on our life will significantly increase. There is a need to consider and analyze the problems associated with new forms of communication, in particular, in the virtual world. In this regard, it is necessary to reduce the adverse impact of technology on our behavior and interpersonal relationship while making the most out of the positive aspects of rapid technology development.