The Science of Unplugging: are we losing connection with each other?

In the last decade we have gone from a connected society to a hyper-connected society.  There are clear benefits to this progress: we are connected to people around the world, we have the world’s information in our pocket, and we can order a pizza or a bed in an apartment with a just few clicks. But have we lost something in the move to live more our lives through a screen?

We connect face-to-face less often

  • Cellphone reached for before spouse –  People are more likely to reach for their cellphone than their spouse first thing in the morning(Bank Of America Trends In Consumer Mobility Report)
  • 20% of young adults have used smartphone during sex-   1 out of 5 adults 18 to 34, have admitted to using their phone during sex. (report)
  • Restaurants report an average dinner session has 36 incidents of people choosing to focus on their phone than on the company

We feel less connected to each other

Research indicates we are feeling less connected to each other and smartphone use seems to play a role in this disconnection.

  • The presence of a smartphone lessons the quality conversation.  Researchers at Virginia Tech found that people had more meaningful conversations and reported higher levels of empathy if a smartphone was not present during the conversation (study).
  • 89% used their cell at the last social gathering –  89 percent of cellphone owners said they had used their phones during the last social gathering they attended. But they weren’t happy about it; 82 percent of adults felt that the way they used their phones in social settings hurt the conversation. (NYTimes)
  • Lower levels of empathy in students – College students  entering campus after 2000 have empathy levels that are 40% lower than classes that came before them.(study)
  • We may not feel as close – A recent study found a smartphone can have ‘negative effects on closeness, connection, and conversation quality’ (study)
  • Less face-to-face communication –39% of Americans spend more time socializing online than face-to-face (Thompson, 2012)
  • Jealousy & FOMO: those who did not know the majority of their Facebook friends personally were more likely to think that their friends led happier lives than themselves (Chou &Edge, 2012).
  • A longitudinal study conducted in 2011 found that of 218 Pace University undergraduate students surveyed, loneliness signficantly increased with frequency of Facebook use and frequency of status updates (Schwartz, 2011).

comunication

Less connected to ourselves:  

Our alone time comes with more stress and burden.  Our connections with ourselves or our intra-personal intelligence seems to be on the decline.

  • We have a hard time being with ourselves.  Timothy D. Wilson, a psychologist at the University of Virginia, led a team that explored our capacity for solitude. People were asked to sit in a chair and think, without a device or a book. They were told that they would have from six to 15 minutes alone and that the only rules were that they had to stay seated and not fall asleep. In one experiment, many student subjects opted to give themselves mild electric shocks rather than sit alone with their thoughts.
  • Tech Interruptions come with an emotional burden- Our data suggests that people compensate for interruptions by working faster, but this comes at a price: experiencing more stress, higher frustration, time pressure and effort.
  • Being connected all the time, means there is constant demand on your time-  Researchers found people feel a constant demand and expectation to be available.Thomée, Dellve, Härenstam, and Hagberg (2010) This type of demand makes it harder to get quality time alone.
  •  Internet usage linked to depression– teens who use the Internet pathologically may be about 2.5 times more likely to develop depression than teens who are not addicted to the Internet. (article)

Prosperity

Other sources:  (Brown, Cecilia, 2013)

  -Zack Prager, founder of Ransomly.

Facebook.com/ransomly,  @zackPrager

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