With all the social media available to people, people are able to stay in touch with friends, family, and even business associates regardless of the distance that separates them. From Facebook to Skype to FaceTime to Instagram and Snapchat, there are now innumerable methods to communicate with people. Unfortunately, however, most of these methods do not promote face-to-face interaction with people; most of their features don’t even promote direct interaction. Doesn’t this pose a threat to how people are able to interact? Although it may allow people to expand their networks, are their networks expanding in a way that is actually making on less social? This threatens our society because it’s making people, especially our youth, less able to socialize, which puts them at risk for a variety of things, including loneliness and depression.
Even though people can now reach hundreds, even thousands or millions, of people through the magic of Internet, people are neglecting interacting with people in their immediate vicinity. That is to say that people are more likely to develop close relations with people who are physically distant from them. This physical distance hinders social growth, which, as a result, leads to loneliness. The advancement of technology and advent of various forms of social media are making adolescents more socially inept, unable to understand how to respond in face-to-face interaction, and thereby, less likely to interact.
Although all the advancements seem to be gifts, then can also be punishments in disguise, punishments for the greed for immediate gratification. I was watching a documentary on solitary confinement on Netflix a while ago, and I learned that solitary confinement may be the worst punishment for inmates because it does not allow them personal growth to be contributing members of society. People “greedy” for the immediate gratification provided by social media may confine themselves in a room for a few hours. Since they are technically alone, isn’t this comparable to solitary confinement? The main difference would be that they are spectating and participating in a virtual world that isn’t the world their physical being is in. Isn’t this lonely, solitary confinement a punishment?