When we refer to a mobile phone today, it carries an entirely different connotation to what it did years ago. It’s amazing how mobile phones have changed over the years, far beyond simple mobility to much more through to texting, cameras, social media apps, banking and so on. Mobile phones are a multi-functional tool that encapsulates mostly everything we need to survive in modern society.
But most importantly, one of the the most interesting things about phones being what it does and doesn’t do for our social skills. We can’t deny our interaction with each has changed as relationships with our phones have become stronger, so let’s explore a few areas we’re all too familiar with in order to answer whether cells help or hinder social lives.
Hiding Behind The Screen
The ability to hide one’s emotions by using our cells is an incredibly powerful and desirable tool for many. For example, face to face interaction with another while arguing may become more heated when you can witness one another’s body language and words fly out without thinking in the moment. However arguing over text, it’s impossible to see or hear how the other person is actually feeling, all you have to go on is there choice and arrangement of words, and perhaps a few emojis on a message. The ability to downplay our emotions by using our phones as a filter, can help in some circumstances to think about what you’ll type before you send it, and even convey that you’re not at all upset about a situation you are. In opposition you can explain you’re incredibly happy for someone, even though you may not be. In person, hiding is a lot harder to do, as your body language, tone of voice,and language are a strong indication of your standpoint on a discussion. Using your phone to actively hide your emotions to prevent hurting someone is a positive for socialising. However, consistently pretending you’re not as happy, sad, or pleased as you express over your phone can begin portraying yourself to others as someone you’re not. This can hinder your social life by sacrificing who you truly are as you constantly dull/or even change what you think to suit and serve others.
On The Go
If you’re travelling, working and just generally a busybody, you may have little to no time as it is to dedicate to visiting your nan you haven’t seen for a while or having a catch up with your best friend. This is when mobile phones could enhance your social life, however, it can’t replace the impact of real face to face interaction, but advanced technology such as Face-time allows it to come pretty close. The same goes for keeping in touch with your sibling, friend, work colleague a text message to catch-up, or a phone call on your lunch break. When you’re physical presence is everywhere else but with your closest, a mobile can keep you connected to a degree, helping you to maintain connections with people when you’re away.
Living In The Moment
It’s not unfamiliar to go out for lunch whether with family, friends or a date and sometimes (usually by habit) be driven to look at your phone. Worst of all it’s probably not for anything of particular importance, it’s just a sudden impulse that takes you away from living in the moment. When you’re too concerned with taking selfies, tagging your location for every stranger and it’s dog to find you and posting on Facebook to update your status your constant connection to your cell could mean you miss what’s going on in front of you. Some people may think looking at your phone while you’re with them is actually a bit rude, which also hinders the socialising factor.
With a surge in apps such as Tinder and Grindr, it’s changed the game for romantic hookups almost completely. With people advertising themselves as a commodity online, the past protocol of meeting people in person has somewhat taken a back seat. There are some drawbacks to discuss here. With Tindr for instance being concocted solely on the basis of how someone looks and swiping people left to right depending on whether you approve or not. This action entails judging people imminently and encourages a shallow selection process meaning you may reject someone whose personality who would of perfectly gelled with yours. However, for those leading a busy lifestyle, it enables them to meet like minded people without having to actively leave their workplace or house to connect with someone initially in person.
The answer to the original question is, phones hinder socialisation when people use it as there only option to interact with people, as opposed to making an effort to see them face to face. After all, mobile phones don’t force people to carry them everywhere and compulsively look at them at every opportunity, that’s purely based on how individuals decide to alter their behaviour around phones, to an extent some may even have withdrawal symptoms. So in fact, when the questions of whether socialisation is hindered or helped by cells, actually largely come down to the choices of people, the phone cannot be blamed for hinder or enhancing socialising.