Online Communication is Warping our Relationships

By Johanna Ochoa 

jochoa32@mail.ccsf.edu

 

Have you ever considered how much time we spend in social media? currently young adults  between 21-25 years old spend more time in front of an electronic device during the day  than the time they sleep at night. That is one of the main problems that is affecting our physical relations. 

One thing that pretty much everyone does right after waking up is checking on their  smartphone, because now people feel the necessity of being connected and updated in  social media. Now days is very uncommon to know someone without an electronic device,  85% of Americans have a smartphone which its main use is communicate through social  media apps. 

Internet has changed the way that humans interact, since 2003 when MySpace was created we started learning how to communicate through social media. In 2004 Facebook  was founded and was there when the boom of the online communication started. 

The infortune thing in all this is the way we have been using this tool, lately people spend  more time staring to their phones than they do to each other. Sometimes it gets the feeling  that social media removes part of human connection 

According to recent study from Uswitch, in 2020 people in The U.S. spent more than 3 hours  daily in social media, compared with the 90 minutes that we spent in 2012. 

For more than 15 years Facebook has been leading the internet, Americans spend 325 hours  in the app a year, that is 58 min per day! 

In another hand Instagram has been leading the preferences of the Millennials who are the  most loyal to the app, which is where Americans spend 53 min of their day. 

But the most alarming fact is in the new generation, that they “literally” were born with  technology in hand. Generation Z (born in between 1996-2000s) spend an unbelievable 9  hours in front of a screen every day, that is probably even more than they spend sleeping  at night. 

Those data can be impressive, but we have to understand too that online schooling in this “new reality” during COVID times, makes them spend more time on their devices. But even  knowing that, we have to ask how much time are they spending online compare to the time  they spend interacting with others?

If we think about the way that we meet people today, can be very different at it was before  the social media era, now everyone has access to so many different dating apps that gives  you the opportunity to meet someone, avoiding the effort to really go and talk in person for the first time. Even if you meet someone outside online world, is quite very common  that people ask for your social media as a first connection, and that pretty much happen  the same day you met them. 

In terms of relationships, couples now are fighting or even breaking up through social  media. Some people consider that their “online life” gives them problems with their partner  and create insecurities. 

But no everything is bad about social media, in a good way social media has an amazing  positive effect in people that is far from their love ones, because the easy connection you  can have with anyone that is pretty much anywhere in the world; Plus, the benefits  technology gave us to do research, to learn online, to buy, trade, work and so many more.  

Technology have improved our lives incredibly in so many different ways, and it will  continue growing, we just have to be more aware of the time we spend in social media, and  keep a track on it to make sure we are not replacing the physical connections. 

We have to live more in the real world and not in the digital world, and just take social  media as a tool that help us to connect with others, but not a distraction of interacting  physically with the one is in front of us. 

New generations that are growing in the technology era need to be teach to use the tech  as a resource to learn, grow and have fun, but not as the only way to interact. We have to  encourage parents to let their kids live their emotions, and not use the device to try to make  them stop crying or not just use it as a help of distraction, because we will be sending the  wrong message to these little ones. 

While it is true that online communication has not completely replaced physical or direct  communication, but it is possible that in the near future it will be more predominant, if we  continue with the habits that we currently have. 

We are still in time to turn to see these problems, and rather than see it as “something  normal,” we have to realize that it can affect us significantly in the long term.

The Guardsman