The ever growing popularity of online social networks results from the ease, convenience and fun of 'connecting' with others on the internet! On the other hand however does using social networking also contribute to restricting our much needed social skills development? The focus and stance of this writer proposes that spending too much time 'socializing' within the internet environment can in fact erode your interpersonal skills!

Following are 5 reasons why spending too much time using social networking online can diminish our effectiveness to interface socially with others in person!

Interactions Are Chosen

This erodes our ability to 'think on our feet' or navigate 'uncomfortable situations! By choosing what conversations we want to participate in is great for staying in your comfort zone but lousy for developing interpersonal skills! An important part of your social skills development is learning to 'handle' unexpected or uncomfortable encounters with diplomacy! By choosing what interactions you want to become active in when using social networking you're are able to avoid unpleasant encounters thus you never learn how to manage them! Without this 'skill' just imagine how awkward you may feel when speaking to somebody face to face!

It Eliminates Using Many Senses

The sensations of touch, smell, hearing and even interpreting voice inflections or body language are all but eliminated when using social networking online! It is important to realize all these aforementioned senses are a natural part of communicating but if you rarely use them, they will NEVER be fully developed! On the other hand you'll probably improve your typing skills, for whatever that is worth!

Spontaneity Is NOT Required

Spontaneity is almost completely eliminated when 'socializing' online since most conversations allow for time lapses before a response is given! This is just like 'planning or scripting' a conversation in advance making each exchange more calculated and restricts the use of a quick wit! I would compare this to taking a test but already having the answers in advance! You learn little or nothing at all so why even bother! Being put on the 'spot' in 'face to face' interactions helps both your personality and mind develop but using social networking on the internet severely restricts your ability to do so!

It Restricts 'Real World' Contact

With opportunities to socialize literally delivered to you via your computer the concern over ones physical appearance is a non-factor! Typically when meeting others for whatever reason there is the need to dress properly and even 'addressing' certain hygiene matters such as bathing or brushing your teeth are required! In addition, meeting times are established therefore adhering to a time schedule is necessary but online socializing rules all this out! By simply turning on your computer you no longer have to 'fuss' with these nagging issues which all revolve around common courtesy and personal pride let alone practicing the discipline to being on time! I must ask you, is all that a good thing? There is NO doubt the internet environment has many positive things to offer but it's not meant to be used as a substitute for life in the 'real' world! Using social networking online is a great 'compliment' to your offline friends and associates but it should NOT be used as a replacement!

Restricts Physical Activity

The simple acts of showering, walking to your car or even partaking in some form of physical activity with friends does NOT happen online! The irony of it all is that our society here in the US is already suffering from childhood obesity and overall poor health! Do you think socializing with your 'cyber friends' is going to help alleviate this epidemic? If you're blessed with fully functioning arms and legs for crying out loud USE THEM! The internet environment may fuel the mind in terms of the information it has to offer but in no way is it going to benefit you physically! When it comes to having a fully functional body, use it or lose it!

Using online social networks is a great way to easily interact with others but it can threaten other necessary social skills development as 'pointed' out above! This is NOT to say that the internet environment is a bad place to spend time since there is much to be learned from the information highway! On the other hand by using social networking TOO much or as a substitute for interacting offline, you run the risk of slowing the development of your interpersonal skills and even your personality! Just saying!

Author's Bio: 

TJ Philpott is an author and Internet entrepreneur based out of North Carolina.
To learn more about the effects of using online social networks excessively and to also receive a free instructional manual that teaches valuable niche research techniques for your online marketing needs simply visit: