The influence of the internet on the social and psychological reality of people

The influence of the internet has changed the way we communicate, learn and shop.

The Internet is probably best known for its ability to disseminate information, whether fact or fiction. We were once limited to news editors from a local paper, then to national cable news. Now anyone can search the world, visit local newspapers abroad and see the points of view from all sides. This ease of information has also led to a host of hoaxes, money tricks and misconceptions.

There is no doubt that easy access to the internet, such as the introduction of mail service and the invention of the telephone, has changed the nature of people’s connection with others in their social world. Mail enabled connections between people without physical proximity, and the telephone facilitated communication between distant people, enabling fast connections over long distances.

But has this communication revolution changed the pure nature of interpersonal and group processes?

On the one hand, since the primary use of the Internet is communication, some people might speculate that the Internet will have positive social impacts in people’s daily lives because it increases the frequency and quality of interpersonal communication between people. People who have easy access to others feel more connected and supported by others, leading to happiness and involvement in families, organizations, communities and society at large.

But on the other hand, the convenience of electronic communication can lead to weaker social bonds, as people have less reason to leave their homes and actually interact with other people. The internet enables people to more easily work from home, make and maintain friendships and even romantic bonds from home, bank from home, vote and participate in political and social discussions with others (from home).

In this variety of ways, Internet communication can potentially replace face-to-face communication. I think this point is important because psychologists have described and proven in many studies that such face-to-face and telephone connections are of higher quality, given their contribution to satisfaction and well-being.

Reading a series of longitudinal and experimental studies (ex McKenna, Green, and Gleason) that test a theory of Internet relationship formation, these researchers go straight into the argument that the psychological quality of Internet social interaction is lower than the psychological quality. of traditional face-to-face interaction.

Consider my own use. I have received several e-mail messages in the last hour. My friend confirms dinner for tonight. Even though it’s the weekend, my colleagues send me questions about the current exam and expect a quick answer. So does a graduate student from Europe, whom I recently met on “MySpace” with an urgent request for a letter of recommendation. My friend Ksenija sends me an IM to tell me the latest news about her new love. And so on and so on…

I suppose I live a virtual life too, and what’s most interesting, all my friends online are also my friends in real life. And if they weren’t in the past, I somehow managed to bring my cyberfriends into my real life so that here in my real life I have real communication, real face-to-face “conversations”, could allow real exchange of emotions, feelings of happiness, contentment and well-being. I would say for me the internet is a great new way to do old things.

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So, what conclusion can I draw other than the one that internet life cannot stand on its own without real-life communication. It’s simple: if we understand the qualities of face-to-face communication that influence the impact of such communication on people and their social interaction, we could predict the likely influence of any new communication technology. However, researchers show that sooner or later people convert their cyber contacts to more traditional face-to-face, just like me. People use the internet, in other words to help them achieve their real-life goals. And instead of technology changing people’s social and psychological reality, in other words, people are changing their use of technology to facilitate the creation of a desired social reality.

Internet users should scrutinize their behavior to ensure that excessive time online does not negatively impact their personal well-being. We shouldn’t throw our computers out the window, but we shouldn’t become blindly dependent on the internet either. As with many things in life, it seems that moderation and balance are key to maximizing the positive effect of the internet.