The rapid development of technologies led to significant changes in the manner of people’s interactions because of the necessity to respond to the tendencies of the constantly changing world. The progress of Instant Messaging technologies, social media, and Skype means the beginning of the digital era in which the computer-mediated communication plays the more important role in comparison with the face-to-face contacts.
In spite of the fact that many people are inclined to discuss the development of digital technologies as the way to intensify and encourage the people’s communication while providing a range of opportunities to communicate at a distance, modern technologies not only make the process of communication easier but also affect the quality of communication, and online communication tends to replace the people’s face-to-face contacts because of making the process more convenient.
Online communication is more progressive and suitable way to contact people without paying attention to any distance and language barriers. However, the problem is in the fact that people often choose to communicate online with those persons who belong to their circle of daily interactions. The researchers state that the focus on online messaging instead of contacting personally can indicate that people “not only have the option to engage in new methods of interaction but appear to be embracing them at the expense of live social intercourse” (Okdie et al. 153). As a result, the frequency and quality of personal interactions decrease, and it is possible to speak about a kind of replacement in relation to online and face-to-face communication.
The people’s focus on choosing the computer-mediated communication instead of face-to-face communication is the main threat to the quality of people’s interactions and to their emotional state. Although online communication can add to the personal contacts significantly, face-to-face communication with friends and relatives “continues to be recognized as a key determinant of social and emotional development” (Pea et al. 328). In this case, children and adolescents can suffer from the spread of the tendency more obviously because of their focus on multitasking digital activities and because of their needs to establish positive relations with peers and adults.
Technologies changed the people’s approaches to communication and provided them with a lot of opportunities to select the way to communicate comfortably. Those people who have difficulties in face-to-face communication can improve the quality of their interactions while regulating the openness and richness of online communication (Pea et al. 329). Nevertheless, Pierce states that modern technologies cannot improve the face-to-face communication directly, but they can become “a substitution for face-to-face interaction” (Pierce 1370). From this point, the problems in personal contacts cannot be solved with the help of online communication because the level of social disconnectedness increases, and online communication is often not continued in the real life.
Although online communication is often discussed as the additional source to encourage and stimulate the face-to-face communication, many people choose the computer-mediated communication instead of developing personal contacts. As a result, the quality of people’s interactions cannot be improved because online communication plays as the substitution of face-to-face communication. The benefits of online communication become the real challenges for the face-to-face communication and for the character of people’s interactions. The opened opportunities to overcome barriers in communication with the help of online activities contribute to the development of the people’s virtual life while not affecting the real personal contacts.
Okdie, Bradley, Rosanna Guadagno, Frank Bernieri, Andrew Geers, and Amber Mclarney-Vesotski. “Getting to Know You: Face-to-Face versus Online Interactions”. Computers in Human Behavior 27.1 (2011): 153–159. Print.
Pea, Roy, Clifford Nass, Lyn Meheula, Marcus Rance, Aman Kumar, Holden Bamford, Matthew Nass, Aneesh Simha, Benjamin Stillerman, Steven Yang, and Michael Zhou. “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.
Pierce, Tamyra. “Social Anxiety and Technology: Face-to-Face Communication versus Technological Communication among Teens”. Computers in Human Behavior 25.1 (2009): 1367–1372. Print.