The rapid development of information technologies has made communication much easier. For instance, people, who can be separated by long distances, can now write or talk to each other without any difficulty. However, one should not disregard the negative consequences of technological progress.
In particular, many people nowadays attach less and less importance to personal contact and face-to-face communication. The problem is that the quality of their lives can be impaired due to such behavior. Moreover, it may be difficult for such individuals to establish and maintain social relations. Therefore, one should view technology-mediated communication as a full-fledged alternative to personal contact.
Technology-mediated communication and lack of social skills
Overall, there are several uses of information technologies, in particular one can mention search for research, entertainment, and social relations. The researchers believe that information technologies have altered many forms of communication, especially those ones requiring personal contact (Flaherty et al 250). For instance, many people, who live in the same neighborhood, often prefer to interact via a chat, instead of meeting one another in person or at least talking by phone (Flaherty et al 250).
More importantly, a great number of people prefer to establish and maintain social relation without face-to-face communication. In many cases, virtual reality becomes more appealing to them. There are several explanations for this phenomenon. Communication technologies such as Internet enable a person to maintain ones anonymity. In a virtual environment, many people feel more relaxed (Flaherty et al 254).
However, there are significant problems that one should not overlook. First of all, people, who are accustomed to computer-mediated communication, may become unwilling to maintain interpersonal relation in the real world because they will no longer be anonymous. They may not feel comfortable when they do not have a computer screen in front of them. This is one of the issues that should be taken into account.
The value of personal contact and face-to-face communication
Apart from that people, who continuously interact without maintaining personal contact, often find their lives less satisfying or fulfilling. The research carried out by Paul Lee et al indicates that face-face interactions usually enhance the quality of a person’s life (375). A person who can task to ones relatives or friends in person is more likely to resistant to stressors. Nevertheless, one cannot say the same thing about computer-mediated communication.
Those people, who regularly communicated only with the help of online technologies, did not report any improvements in the quality of their lives (Lee et al 386). Similar findings were derived by other researchers. For instance, according to the study conducted by Roy Pea et al, school girls are more likely to experiences social well-being when they can talk to their peers in person (327).
Such findings suggest that online communication often lacks the sense of connectedness and warmth. A person, who avoids personal contact, may be deprived of these benefits. This is the main issue that people should be aware of.
Thus, people should take into account that lack of personal contact can have an adverse effect on the life of an individual. Certainly, one cannot argue that communication technologies play only a negative role because they indeed make people much more connected. Nevertheless, people should not suppose that it is a real substitute for face-to-face communication which can be much more fulfilling. This is the main issue that should be taken into consideration.
Flaherty, Lisa M., Kevin Pearce, and Rebecca, Rubin. “Internet and Face-to-Face Communication: Not Functional Alternatives.” Communication Quarterly 46.3 (1998): 250-68. Print.
Lee, Paul, Louis Leung, Venhwei Lo, Chengyn Xiong, and Tingjun Wu. “Internet Communication Versus Face-To-Face Interaction In Quality Of Life.” Social Indicators Research 100.3 (2011): 375-389. Print.
Pea, Roy, Clifford Nass, Lyn Meheula and Marcus Rance. “Media Use, Face-To-Face Communication, Media Multitasking, And Social Well-Being Among 8- To 12-Year-Old Girls.” Developmental Psychology 48.2 (2012): 327-336. Print.