The Importance Of Real Life Socialization In A Digital World
Over the last few decades, technology has disrupted every aspect of our lives by forcing us to constantly adapt to something new.
Although this change has been beneficial in many areas, it has also impacted how people communicate and which parts of their communication skills they tap into.
It has been beneficial in terms of information availability, the modernization of many industries, and improved services, but it has also affected human interaction.
The most influential development in this department is the mobile phone. Mobile devices, paired with a fast Internet connection, have made it easy to have access to each other by allowing us to be connected to the digital world in an instant. People can send messages and share photos and videos while keeping an eye on most of their acquaintances. Staying in touch with others has become incredibly easy and comfortable, but, when it comes to face-to-face communication, things are not looking as bright.
No matter how much technology wanted to close the communication gap between people, it ended up creating a new, virtual one. It has brought people from other cultures and countries closer by offering them ways to meet, and, therefore, eliminating the distance factor that used to be an issue when meeting someone. However, it has also negatively impacted relationships, particularly the idea of intimacy. Because people tend to be very distracted by what happens in the online medium, they neglect what is physically next to them, leading to communication issues.
Face-to-face communication is becoming some sort of an alien concept, with more and more people becoming oblivious to the world around them. Smart devices have affected many of our in-person social skills, because they allow us to become immersed in a better version of our world; all this without giving us the obvious option of a ‘stop’ button. Not many people feel confident to sustain eye contact, to carry out a conversation without getting distracted, or to actually pay attention and listen.
To build and improve those crucial social skills, people need real-world socialization. Social interactions have great mental health benefits, making us feel happier and more productive. Moreover, building connections and relationships with people have a major impact on our wellness, especially as we age. This is why seniors, for example, are constantly encouraged to maintain an active social life, as it gives them a sense of purpose.
In this sense, technology has actually helped, as some of the past times enjoyed by the older generation have been digitized to fit in with the modern era. They are able to enjoy being part of various social contexts, without having to leave their homes. Playing bingo, for example, an activity known to be preferred by seniors, does no longer depend on the mobility factor, as it can be found and easily accessed online. On these platforms, there are chat rooms to ensure optimum socialization and plenty of laughter, providing the elderly with a sense of community.
No matter the age group, learning how to maintain a real social life, and how to enjoy someone else’s company, should not be influenced by technology. Digitization has bridged certain gaps, but now it is up to people to realize some things cannot be replaced with their mobile phones. A lack of face-to-face interaction leads to social intimacy issues, which can affect our moods and cause serious mental health problems. Ultimately, it is about finding the right balance between maintaining an online presence and creating real-world connections.