Is Social Media Hindering Our Face-To-Face Socialization Skills?

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Many have seen it, the rows of people with eyes glued to their phones, whether they are on the train, at a restaurant or even in their own homes.  Are social media and the technology that makes it accessible hindering peoples’ socialization skills?



In this new age of smartphones, millennials and even older individuals are finding themselves enveloped in the world of technology and social media. In a large survey conducted by, 90 percent of teens surveyed, ages 13 to 17, reported to have used some form of social media in their lives. Seventy-five percent of teens currently have a social networking profile, and 51 percent visit that social networking site daily.

Is this fervent use of phones and social media causing a loss of social skills? Kristin Carothers, a clinical psychologist with the Child Mind Institute in New York City, believes so.

Carothers said that frequent virtual interactions through social media lack emotion, and when coming face-to-face with a person, frequent users of social media may “miss some social cues.”

Carothers also said that the “quality of [the] relationships may not be as great” as those that are based in face-to-face socializing. A problem that arises from this is that youths may become “confused (about) what an actual friendship is,” Carothers said.

However, she does commend social media in how it “breaks down cultural barriers,” as youths all over the world who have similar interests can connect through various platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

According to, some teens think there is a trade-off between social media use and face-to-face communication. A third of teens (34 percent) agree either strongly or somewhat that using social media takes away from time they could be spending with people face-to-face, and 44 percent agree at least “somewhat” that using social media often distracts them from the people they’re with when they get together in person.

Some teens get frustrated by how attached their friends and parents are to their own devices, the survey shows. For example, 28 percent of those whose parents have a mobile device say they consider their parents “addicted” to their gadgets, and 21 percent of all teens say they wish their parents spent less time with their cell phones and other devices. Nearly half (45 percent) of teens say they sometimes get frustrated with their friends for texting, surfing the Internet or checking their social networking sites while they’re hanging out together.

One 13-year-old boy from the survey said, “It’s boring to talk to someone that has to check Facebook every 5 minutes.”

Although many teens reported that social media distracts them from talking to their friends, they also believe that social media actually improves their relationships with friends because it allows them to be constantly connected. A friend is available at the tap of a screen, and teens can connect with members of their extended family whom they do not regularly see.

About 54 percent of teens say that social media has helped improve their relationships while only 2 percent say social media is hurting their relationships. Despite this, teens still report that face-to-face communication is the most preferable. About half of teens prefer face-to-face communication because it is the most intimate.

Despite the hours they spend on their devices, most teens insist that social networking has no effect on their emotional health and that they are satisfied with their lives. For example, 80 percent say using their social networking site does not make much difference to whether or not they feel depressed. Eighty-three percent say that social media does not make them feel better or worse about themselves. And 74 percent do not believe that it hinders their relationships with others.

Because technology is still evolving, its impact on teen socialization remains uncertain. Some experts say that teens can lose important social skills, while others say that social media offers opportunities for a new connectedness. Hanging in the balance is one pressing question: will face-to-face communication become a thing of the past in the future?

Zachary Feliciano is a student at Achievement First University Prep, Brooklyn, N.Y.

7 thoughts on “Is Social Media Hindering Our Face-To-Face Socialization Skills?

  1. McKinnley N.
    I agree with some of your points saying social media is hindering communication and ways of life. Teens are finding themselves glued to their phones and devices more and more as generations grow and it has brutally effected real ways of communication.

    Some people may argue that communication through social media has became our way to get through schooling, making that our most effective and reliable skill. Yes, in our generation people sit in front of a screens on a daily bases at work and in the classroom, but in no way is this improving our communication skills. In the article Grammar Gaffes, Kyle Wiens argues his strong belief that “he will not hire people with poor grammar” (1 Weeks). So what happens when people sit at their computer in class, go for an interview after they are handed their diploma, and can’t get a job because they were so stuck in front of their sceen their whole life, leading them to have lost concept of real communication. People are found to be so accepting of today’s “improved” ways that they don’t realize the true impact it is having on them.

  2. Jayda Cheramie Social Media. Hindering or enhancing.communication?

    Ms. Martin

    English 10 period 2


    “We don’t have a choice on whether we Do social media, the question is how we Do it”-Erik Qualman. This quote shows that social media is hindering our communication depending on how it is used. “A study conducted for online casino yazino found that one in four people spend more time socializing online,…than they do in person.” These statistics show that social media is hindering our communication.

    Social media is hurting our communication in so many ways. A reason is that it has changed the way we communicate. Studies show that only 7%of communication is based on written or verbal word. A whopping 93% is based on nonverbal body language;Forbes Magazine says. These statistics show that we are not communicating face to face, which leads to bad communication and grammar.

    That may be true but some people might point out, what about maintaining communication with family and friends. Yes, but again it is how we do social media. Statistics also show that 28% of adults use pinterest, which is not a communicating app.
    Overall social media is hindering our communication, because only 7% of people communicate based on written or verbal words. How you chose to use social media is a huge factor. How will you use social media?

  3. I am with you in some points and I disagree you in other else.But we can not be separated from the social media in nowadays.The important question how will we use social media?

  4. In response to a few comments I’ve read, I disagree with claims that social media responsibility for the perceived decline in our communication skills. Our communication skills have been declining for some time now. When I was growing up the television was the dominant screen, not smartphones. I barely had conversations with my parents a lot of times. Sometimes I did.

    I also disagree that people today being accepting of social media is blinding them to the perceived negative impact, but really that people who perceive a problem are blinded to the true impact due to a the overseer minor decline in face to face interaction. Typically people from previous generations exaggerate negative effects because things have changed from the time they are used to living in. They feel their way was the best way. This goes back to the term Juvenoia. Elders have a lot of apprehension regarding new ways of doing things, this is not rooted in factual assessment of the effects, but fear of change. It also doesn’t help that people fear monger by putting out propaganda that seem to confirm people’s feelings about technology. The issue is they often ignore the vast world of science where people check the work of others for flaws and report them. A recent study done argues that social media is not hindering interpersonal relationships, the study was done to see if the claims of the contrary were true of false. They found it to be false.

    With technology advancing, people learning how to integrate technology into their lives. This takes time, and people need to learn to be patient. Give others time to learn how to balance technology in their lives. Exaggerating bad effects isn’t helping. A few things I love about technology, is the opportunity for growth through learning apps like Coursera, where I am taking a grammar class. I can also use my favourite app MeetUp. MeetUp is a great app to check out groups where you can attend concerts, get into art, learn a language or instrument, etc… I can use it to practice the grammar I am learning. Coursera is also offering communication certification. People can improve themselves with technology and social media can be used to practice as well. A lot of bad grammar appears of Facebook, I would recommend using the new grammar skills in one of the grammar groups on FB. You can get some good feedback. I honestly believe people are having face to face interaction a heck of lot. It’s hard not to talk face to face, when you go to school, work, events, clubs, etc… Interpersonal relationships are still incredibly important to us today. This is good. Now give us time to learn how to fit technology into this so that we can be successful.

  5. To: Raven, the article never mentions social media is responsible for the decline in our ability to communicate; it states that social media is hindering our ability to communicate.