Author Name: Bhavya P
Qualifications: BSc- Psychology, MA- Applied Psychology, (specialization in clinical psychology).
Designation: Consultant Psychologist, ACRO Mental Health Services.
Word count: 450
Reading time: 6 minutes
Reviewed by: Aishwarya Krishna Priya
Having to go through a pandemic might as well have affected our job security and our health. It further extended to the connections we maintain through friendships.
Covid pandemic, especially lockdown, created a sense of "drifting our paths", the choices we make and losing touch with our loved ones.
To be frank, compared to the virtual model, communication in real-time was more accessible. Although digital communication has been a boon to many, the effects of social media addictions are powerfully prevalent and advocated. The indirect concern of digital communication is preordained and has been creating a feeling of uncertainty and apprehension in one another that hasn’t already been publicly viewed, but researchers do study it. Research reviews done by Waytz explored the idea of digital communication bridging the gap and at the same time creating an uncomfortable space of reduced intricacies of sociability (1).
Digital communication offers a transformative ability to take up everyday tasks with ease. Be it from having online support groups, individualised care sessions in healthcare setups, or online study rooms hosted by professions.
Apart from the talks and discussions of parental control, online communication reduces the typical social cues of face to face interaction like body language, facial expressions. In addition to this, interactions using virtual mode have been restricted and limited to professional and less personal conversations than real-time engagements. Real-time conversation, as in face to face, can have the embedded features of visual and tactical stimulation that may enable a deeper understanding of people's feelings, thoughts and emotions (1).
To be concise, concerning face to face interaction, it may enable us to understand the conversational depth, the inherent meaning attached to those words, their body language. We can listen to certain internalised emotions felt during the communication process. Here, the conversation isn't directed but left in control of the person for it to flow.
Indeed, online communication has an advantage in building broader areas for planning and community engagement. However, it has also been found to be associated with decreased empathy and increased individualism (2, 3)
To sum up, I may be intending to share that online communication has various benefits ranging from an individual level to a policy level. Furthermore, digitalisation offers several advantages and has a significant psychological impact. Looking beyond visible concerns like addiction has been associated with adverse effects like reduced empathy.
Addictions of any kind are hazardous not just to the sufferers but also to their families. One must identify that habits and abuse can lead to addictions in the long run, which may sometimes prevail for a lifetime. It’s always necessary to seek a specialist’s suggestions before things get complicated for you and your loved ones around you.
1.Waytz A, Gray K. Does Online Technology Make Us More or Less Sociable? A Preliminary Review and Call for Research. Perspectives on Psychological Science [Internet]. 2018 [cited 19 December 2021];13(4):473-491. Available from: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1745691617746509
2. Konrath S, O'Brien E, Hsing C. Changes in Dispositional Empathy in American College Students Over Time: A Meta-Analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Review. 2010;15(2):180-198.
3. Wellman B, Quan-Haase A, Boase J, Chen W, Hampton K, Díaz I et al. The Social Affordances of the Internet for Networked Individualism. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. 2006;8(3):0-0.
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