Ever since the internet became the standard, there’s been a contention about its repercussions on social wellbeing.
There are two groups involved in the debate about internet use. The first group are those who claim thatsocial media and the internet has enabled people to cultivate richer social lives than before. The second group are those who claimthat the increased time people spent bouncing around on the web have become to an increasing extent more excluded from others, and are lacking in true human connections.
Science is now beginning to have its say.
A study done at the Stockholm School of Economics looked into the association between peoples’ internet use and their results on different measures of social wellbeing, such as their work life balance and emotional health.
The lead investigator of the study, Dr. Elizabeth Engleberg discovered that people with high internet use were markedly more lonesome and had a porrer work life balance than those with low internet use.
This outcome strongly supports the viewpoint that the social media cannot take the place of true face to face interaction. It seems that no matter how much people interact through social media, they don’t find the true human interactions that they desire.
Besides, it looks that too much internet use also stops people from acquiring the skills they needed to interact with others. Dr. Engelberg discovered that people who spent a lot of time online scored lower on scales of emotional intelligence and social skills.
It is a shame that the people who most need to learn how to interact with others are the ones spending the most time on their computers alone.
Intuitively, that makes sense: if people find it difficult to interact with others, they are less enclined to participate in social interaction. Instead, they spend their time in solitary activities, such as surfing the web.
But in doing so, these people have no chance to improve their communication skills. They’ve entered a downhill slide, where they spend more and more time online and become more and more lonesome, but never feel comfortable communicating with others.
To get out of this downward spiral, people need to turn their computers off, go out, and create true human relationships with others.
As Dr. Engleberg’s study revealed, this is vitally important. Evermore so, in a world where people are spending more and more time online.