How to Keep Your Smartphone from Hurting Your Relationships – 2

texting_hazards_2243715

 

 4. Don’t let your smartphone stop you from socializing with strangers

A growing body of research suggests that even seemingly trivial interactions with strangers—like chatting with a barista or cashier—play a big role in how socially connected we feel. How might smartphones affect these interactions? Well, to the extent that we are on our smartphones instead of having casual interactions with others, we miss out on opportunities to connect.

In one study, researchers found that having a smartphone on hand led people who needed directions to primarily rely on the phone and not ask others for help. As a result of not interacting with others, the people with smartphones felt less socially connected and thus worse overall (even though they got to their destination faster). This suggests that smartphones can eliminate social interactions in small but important ways that could have long-term consequences on our lives.

After spending the last few decades hearing, “don’t talk to strangers,” we understandably feel some trepidation about talking to people we don’t know. But choosing to reach out to another human being, in many circumstances, can be extremely valuable for our well-being and theirs.

5. If you’re connecting online, be active

We often like to think—or we’ve been told—that social media like Facebook and Twitter can help us connect with others. But it turns out that using electronic devices to connect socially doesn’t work very well, at least not in the short-term.

A recent study showed that our mood and feelings of social connection aren’t any better when communicating online than when not socializing at all. In fact, the more a person mainly interacts with others online, the worse their mood and the lower their feelings of social connection.

It’s human nature to need connection. So instead of passively surfing online or on social media, which we almost invariably do alone, opt instead to do something that involves the active participation of others. For example, one study found that high schoolers who more frequently chat online or use computers with friends tend to have higher-quality friendships. This suggests that technology can be used as a prop when building stronger relationships.

6. Connect with people on your smartphone to cope with pain

Although most of the research suggests that you should prioritize face-to-face interactions over electronic interactions, in-person interactions are not always possible. When a parent is traveling for work or a close friend has moved out of state, then what do you do?

Research suggests that electronic interactions can be beneficial for building and maintaining bonds that couldn’t otherwise exist. Actively chatting or reaching out to people whom you cannot see face-to-face does seem to have benefits, like feeling more socially connected.

In times of need, reaching out for social support on a smartphone seems to be especially helpful. For example, patients in one study were assigned to one of four groups. During a minor surgery, they had to text message a stranger, text message a companion, play a distracting game (Angry Birds) on their smartphone, or not use their smartphone at all. Ultimately, people who text-messaged either a companion or a stranger required less pain medication than those who didn’t use their smartphone. This research goes to show that we get a wide range of benefits from social connection, which our smartphones can provide if no other options are available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

texting_hazards_2243715

 

 4. Don’t let your smartphone stop you from socializing with strangers

A growing body of research suggests that even seemingly trivial interactions with strangers—like chatting with a barista or cashier—play a big role in how socially connected we feel. How might smartphones affect these interactions? Well, to the extent that we are on our smartphones instead of having casual interactions with others, we miss out on opportunities to connect.

In one study, researchers found that having a smartphone on hand led people who needed directions to primarily rely on the phone and not ask others for help. As a result of not interacting with others, the people with smartphones felt less socially connected and thus worse overall (even though they got to their destination faster). This suggests that smartphones can eliminate social interactions in small but important ways that could have long-term consequences on our lives.

After spending the last few decades hearing, “don’t talk to strangers,” we understandably feel some trepidation about talking to people we don’t know. But choosing to reach out to another human being, in many circumstances, can be extremely valuable for our well-being and theirs.

5. If you’re connecting online, be active

We often like to think—or we’ve been told—that social media like Facebook and Twitter can help us connect with others. But it turns out that using electronic devices to connect socially doesn’t work very well, at least not in the short-term.

A recent study showed that our mood and feelings of social connection aren’t any better when communicating online than when not socializing at all. In fact, the more a person mainly interacts with others online, the worse their mood and the lower their feelings of social connection.

It’s human nature to need connection. So instead of passively surfing online or on social media, which we almost invariably do alone, opt instead to do something that involves the active participation of others. For example, one study found that high schoolers who more frequently chat online or use computers with friends tend to have higher-quality friendships. This suggests that technology can be used as a prop when building stronger relationships.

6. Connect with people on your smartphone to cope with pain

Although most of the research suggests that you should prioritize face-to-face interactions over electronic interactions, in-person interactions are not always possible. When a parent is traveling for work or a close friend has moved out of state, then what do you do?

Research suggests that electronic interactions can be beneficial for building and maintaining bonds that couldn’t otherwise exist. Actively chatting or reaching out to people whom you cannot see face-to-face does seem to have benefits, like feeling more socially connected.

In times of need, reaching out for social support on a smartphone seems to be especially helpful. For example, patients in one study were assigned to one of four groups. During a minor surgery, they had to text message a stranger, text message a companion, play a distracting game (Angry Birds) on their smartphone, or not use their smartphone at all. Ultimately, people who text-messaged either a companion or a stranger required less pain medication than those who didn’t use their smartphone. This research goes to show that we get a wide range of benefits from social connection, which our smartphones can provide if no other options are available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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