Social Interaction Enhanced Or Reduced By Technology?

2504 words - 11 pages


A Shift in Social Interaction: Enhanced or reduced by technology?

Social Interaction: Enhanced or reduced by technology?
Social interaction is a very important aspect of human life. It can help to shape individuals throughout their life, based on experience and communications with others. With the increase in technology and innovation we are beginning to see a shift in the ways people communicate and interact. “Social interaction is not defined by type of physical relation or behaviour, or by physical distance. It is a matter of a mutual subjective orientation towards each other.” (Rummel, 1976, 9.2) Is social interaction on the internet and ...view middle of the document...

In studies, results showed that on-line relationships are highly similar to those developed in person, in terms of their breadth, depth, and quality (Bargh & McKenna, 2003). In addition more than 50% of the respondents had moved an online relationship to a face-to-face relationship, and 22% reported that they had either married, become engaged, or were living with someone they met on the internet (Bargh & McKenna, 2003). Further studies, by Bargh and McKenna, were conducted where pairs of previously unacquainted male and female college students met each other for the first time either in an internet chat room or face-to-face situation. Interestingly enough, those who met first on the internet liked each other more than those who met face-to-face — even when it was the same partner both times (unknowingly). It was found that people were able to better express their true selves to someone over the internet (Bargh & McKenna, 2003). Some researchers try to explain these findings suggesting that meetings over the Internet are more intimate (Gray, 2007). Through the chat room meetings, the participants were able to reveal more about themselves due to the lack of visual and auditory communication (Gray, 2007). This lack of visual and auditory communication meant that participants felt less anxiety, thus being able to reveal more about themselves (Gray, 2007). The internet provides an innovative technological communication medium, which proves to be a valuable means of making and sustaining relationships. Some of the factors, however, including ease of making false impressions, can make it a potentially dangerous technology
The Internet’s Dangers
One cannot always be certain with whom they are interacting over the internet. This anonymity of the user is one of the dangers of the internet (Hughes, 2001). Sexual predators present a large drawback from social interaction over the internet. Because of the way the internet works, one, especially a child, cannot always be confident with whom they are interacting (Hughes, 2001). Danger to children has drastically increased as a result of the Internet growing and becoming a more popular worldwide medium (Hughes, 2001). Sexual predators can hide behind screen names and pseudonyms and use the internet to exchange information about potential victims (Hughes, 2001). The speed of swaps and amounts of information that they exchange is astounding, and this fact can excite them further and turn them into more effective predators (Hughes, 2001). Chat rooms, instant messages, and email are the most common means by which sexual predators contact children over the internet. In fact, 89% of sexual solicitations were made in either chat rooms or instant messages and 1 in 5 youth, ages 10-17 years, has been sexually solicited online (Hughes, 2001). This is a terrifying fact of social interaction on the internet. Many safety precautions can and should be taken when interaction though the internet because it has a...

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