Is social media anti-social?

Research shows that while people use social media to connect with friends, in fact those who use the internet less are happier and have better relationships with friends and family. This is because real intimacy with friends is the gateway to connection.


‘Low’ internet users are happier

A recent study found that adolescents who self-reported as ‘low’ internet users (less than one hour per day) had better relationships with friends and family than those who reported ‘moderate’ (one to two hours per day) and ‘high’ (more than two hours per day).

The authors concluded that excessive internet use could interfere with face-to-face relationships, as illustrated by a recent survey showing that one in 10 young adults in the USA admitted to having checked their smartphone during sex!

Professor Sir Cary Cooper of the Manchester Business School is also concerned about the effect of work emails on our stress and social life. “Something like 40% of people wake up, and the first thing they do is check their email,” he says. “For another 40%, it’s the last thing they do at night.”He is concerned that too many people are spending too much time in ‘work’ mode.

These media do allow us to connect with people we have perhaps lost touch with, or make new friends out of common connections or interests. However, we need to be mindful if they become a shallow replacement for real intimacy with close friends which is the true gateway to connection.

Find out more about the stress social media puts on relationships, how important it is to make yourself vulnerable and why loneliness is so harmful.