How Does Technology Influence Communication?


Quick Answer

With video chat applications, social media tools, text messaging and other alternatives to in-person conversations springing up, people interact more but have a more difficult time building solid relationships. Researchers have found that while technology increases the quantity of communication, the quality may be suffering as a result.

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Full Answer

As of 2011, the average teenage girl in the United States sent 3,952 text messages per month. As of 2014, 99 percent of Americans owned a cellphone. Eighty percent of those sent and received text messages with their phones, and 73 percent used them for video chatting or email. Even so, people are struggling to form emotional connections, particularly adolescents and young adults.

Even though text messages, Facebook posts and other forms of technologically-facilitated communication allow the use of emojis (icons showing a particular emotional state) in addition to text, those icons are not the same as communicating emotions in person, and receiving an emoji is significantly different from interpreting verbal and nonverbal cues from people and understanding how they are feeling.

Boston College offers a course about how to ask someone out for a date, which is a sign that young people are not developing emotionally as they should. Courtship and building connection are processes that take time and subtlety. These are two factors that texting, tweeting and sending instant messages do not prepare people to handle.

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