The effect of less human interaction

In the previous post “Where is Your Trust” we talked about how we engage in the public realm much less and the effects that that has on our trust for each other. However, this growing detachment from real physical social interaction has far greater effects.

Sounds a bit extreme at first, but think about it, texting for example, is an immediate form of communication in which we only receive static feedback. Static feedback only gives you momentary gratification which is why you may feel depressed if you only engage in virtual means of communication. Dr. Cindy Bunin, a professor who teaches parents about the effects of technology says, “You become less human because you’re constantly isolated and with no emotional feedback, and you may start to feel depressed.” Professor Sherry Turkle, even a wrote the book Alone Together, that talks about how texting can have a dehumanizing effect.

When we communicate through alternative means that don’t require us to hear or see each other, we are eliminating a critical visual and auditory feedback from the other person. That makes the communication more robotic. We can’t see the person’s reactions and body language; we can’t hear the excitement or sadness in their voice; nor do we feel as connected due to the lack of eye contact. Without such emotional feedback, the communication is less human because there are less feelings involved.

The effect on emotional intelligence 

More importantly however, a lack of emotional feedback decreases our emotional intelligence and makes it harder to understand how to act appropriately around people. Human interaction is intuitive, but it is a skill that can be either improved or lost. If we don’t practice interacting with people in real life, it may become awkward or uneasy to talk to people. Which would make it harder for us to make friends, build connections and expand our professional network. And that, may lead us to feeling lonely and possibly depressed. That’s why human interaction is important.

What can we do?

Talk to people, attend social events, engage in social realms, do more outdoor activities. Don’t prison yourself inside your house thinking you are connected to everyone. You’re not. You’re connected to their devices.

Resources

“Is technology making us less human?” John Brandon, http://www.techradar.com/us/news/world-of-tech/future-tech/is-technology-making-us-less-human–1171002