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While the trend toward digitalization is seldom shocking, the rate at which it is occurring is. Everything is moving online, from dating applications to artificial intelligence chatbots.

In this digital age, we have done it all: shopped, built businesses, passed the time, and even made friends for life all online. Worldwide, 66% of people were using the internet regularly as of 2022 (Statista). As it continues to bring us closer to material goods, the internet will play an increasingly larger role in our daily lives. The question is, can technology make people better communicators?

In the lightning-fast world of technology, every trailblazer is vying for the top spot. Every day, innovations are tested to sell the things that everyone wants—tools that simplify our lives. An unsettling trend toward a society where most forms of social connection take place online is emerging as the concept of using technology to combat a pandemic gains traction among the elder generations.

However, should we see this shift favorably or negatively? Is the rise of new communication technology going to improve or diminish human interaction? This article will discuss the effects of technology on social contact, both positive and negative, as well as the harsh realities of the situation.

The Good

The wonderful effect that the internet has had on human communication is undeniable. Our level of connectivity is unprecedented when compared to the era before the internet. Some of the ways technology improves communication with others are as follows:.

Effortless Worldwide Interaction

Does technology have any impact on social media? The majority of us can now instantly communicate with anyone around the globe. Thanks to technological advancements, the days of relying on the postman, courier pigeons, or messages in a bottle to convey messages have long since passed. Globalization is a term used to describe this process.

Online Platforms

The impact of technology on interpersonal connections will be examined. Thanks to video-chatting applications like Zoom and Skype, people no longer need to be physically present to have meaningful emotional connections. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, this has been of the utmost importance in keeping families from different homes apart. Zoom had 2.13 million global downloads on the day the UK lockdown was announced, up from 56,000 daily two months prior.

Internet Dating

Online dating has grown in popularity, further simplifying the process of finding love. More than half of all couples will meet online by the year 2035, according to a survey that came out last year. In the same survey, 47% of respondents said they think introverts have an easier time finding love through online dating.

People who might have had trouble making friends in real life now have the opportunity to join virtual groups. In a virtual world, persons with physical impairments can escape their limitations, and those who suffer from social anxiety can practice interacting with others online rather than in person, which can help them overcome their fears. People have more time to think about and respond to communications than they would in a face-to-face conversation. Contrarily, this isn’t necessarily beneficial in all cases.

The Bad

Naturally, there is another viewpoint to think about, just like with anything else. What are the detrimental effects of technology on our social lives? Some might say that it’s a bad thing that digital communication makes people more anonymous and slows them down. Especially for the most defenseless among us, there are more opportunities for deceit lurking behind computer keyboards and smartphone screens. Some of how technology hinders human connection are listed below.

Fewer Interactions With People

Technology is quickly becoming the primary means of communication for an increasing number of people. Because of the coronavirus lockdown, millions of people had to stay home and work, and because of the acceleration of online communication technologies, we are even less likely to interact with real people than before. By July 2020, 58% of all contacts with customers had taken place online.

With more and more people working remotely, self-service devices are also automating transactional operations. While this may have some positive aspects in theory, it also shows how technology hurts human communication. Not all communities benefit equally from the convenience of technology-enabled interactions. Loneliness may become more common as a result of people’s reliance on transient online interactions for social interaction, particularly among the elderly.

Increased Instances of Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying has also become more common due to technological advancements, and young people are especially susceptible to this kind of online abuse. Although cyberbullying mostly affects children, it is now impacting adults as well. A YouGov survey from last year found that 25% of adults have been victims of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying has tragically increased the number of people who take their own lives, proving that technology is not necessarily a positive method to meet new people.

Online Fraud

The term “catfishing” refers to the activity of using a false online persona to harass, threaten, or abuse a particular target. A famous MTV reality show focuses on this disturbing trend that has taken over social media and dating sites. As many as nine percent of those who took part in a 2018 survey reported feeling mentally impacted by being a catfish.

Also, predators may now find their victims more easily because of technology. On top of that, with schools closed due to the coronavirus lockdown in the UK, kids had less face-to-face time and spent more time glued to their screens. Reports to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline surged by 106% in the early months of the epidemic, while there is no overwhelming evidence to imply that the pandemic triggered an increase in predatory activity online.

The Unpleasant Reality

No matter how we slice it—positive, negative, or somewhere in the middle—technology has undeniably changed the way we interact with one another. While it facilitates immediate communication with individuals across great distances, it also exposes us to novel types of abuse and manipulation and increases the likelihood that we may experience feelings of isolation.

The introduction of new technology, however, almost always coincides with the introduction of new cybersecurity legislation and other safeguards for technological systems. While this won’t be able to shield everyone from technology’s ills, we each have a personal responsibility to exercise prudence when using the internet. Equally important is making sure we have enough face-to-face time with people every day, in addition to the time spent interacting with others online.

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