Negative Effects of Social Media on Communication Skills: Destructive Impact

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Technology, on the whole, has drastically reshaped the way we communicate by linking humans globally. Despite the positive changes that technology has had, there have also been many negatives. Personally, I have witnessed the negative effects of technology. For instance, during dinner time, a time for families to interact about their day, dinner time tends to be silent with the occasional laughter of an Instagram video. Not to mention the blue-lit faces from the very addictive screens. This essay will discuss the three ways technology has ruined our communication skills.

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Technology has destroyed communication skills through the decrease in face-to-face communication, the increase in social isolation, and the creation of dehumanization/ depersonalization.

The Decline of Face-to-Face Communication

Technology such as social media has damaged our communication skills by decreasing face-to-face communication, specifically ruining in-depth conversations. Before understanding the negative impacts of technology on face-to-face communication, we first need to understand the benefits of face-to-face communication. One benefit of face-to-face communication is that when we interact with others personally, our body secrets a hormone called oxytocin; this chemical helps to increase our affection and happy feeling (‘Attack of the Screens’). Next face to face interactions help to build stronger connections with others as we are able to see their faces and understand emotions (‘Attack of the Screens’).

A study done by the University of California shows the benefits face to face communication on the body. In this study 2, 835 women were diagnosed with breast cancer (Kroenke et al.). The results were that the women who had a strong friend group with whom they interacted frequently were more likely to survive. Face-to-face conversations play a huge role in brain function and emotion (Kroenke et al.). More and more, as we become technologically advanced, we lose the art of in-depth conversations with one another. Sherry Turkle, a psychologist and MIT professor, states in a New York Times article “that we are all together digitally. However, we remain in our own personal bubble’ (Turkle). She goes on to say that as “we increase our online communication we become programmed to accept faster information, to get these answers we simplify our real-life communications with one another (Turkle).”

A study done at states that “82% of all adults (not just cell owners) say that when people use their cellphones at social gatherings, it at least occasionally hurts the conversation and atmosphere of the gathering (Raine and Zickuhr 1)”. The increase in phones is having a negative impact on the conversations we have with one another. This can lead to antisocial behavior or social anxiety. Another factor is the quality of face-to-face communication. Not only has the quantity of face-to-face communication decreased the quality has as well. While texting, our sentences become shorter and shorter; furthermore, we begin to replace our emotions with emojis and icons. Not to mention the fact that technology has created its own language: internet slang. While texting, we create shortcuts and make words simpler; then, when we talk to others, we begin to use this slang and make our words shorter and shorter until we actually begin to sound like robots.

According to Marc Brackett, the director of Yale University’s Center of Emotional Intelligence, “Our communication is increasing. However, the quality of our discussions is becoming weak (Johnson) .” He also goes on to state that increasing amounts of children are communicating with technology, which proposes a challenge because children are not learning how to have emotional connections (Johnson). Moreover, more children are using technology; a study at Tech Safe states that” 86% of kids aged between 5 and 16 in the UK have their own computer (Livingstone et al.).” This poses a problem because more and more children are having access to technology, meaningless face-to-face interaction, and more emotional problems. This can create a lack of affection for others as well as a lack of interest.

This viewpoint is echoed by research done at Boston University Medical Center by Jenny Radesky, MD, clinical instructor in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine (‘Mobile and Interactive’). According to her, when there is too much technological exposure for children “decreases a child’s development of language and social skills (‘Mobile and Interactive’).” Social isolation is another negative effect of technology on communication skills. Social interactions and support are an integral part of human beings. As human beings, we are social creatures who adapt to social settings around us. In an article by Adam Waytz, a psychologist at Northwestern University, he states that as human beings, social behavior is a key factor in our thinking and behavior (Waytz). He also goes on to say that being social helps us to learn from others as human beings (Waytz).

The Increase in Social Isolation

A recent study by Brian Primark, director at the Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health at the University of Pittsburgh, highlights the negative effects of social media (Hobson). According to Brian Primark, “the effect of spending more than 2 hours a day on social media is twice the perceived social isolation” in comparison to those who spend less (Hobson). Mr.Primark identifies a vicious cycle where people get trapped in the loop of loneliness. This happens when we compare our seemingly paltry lives with the lavish lives we may see on social media. This could cause us to feel left out and essentially alone, even though the images we see may not depict reality (Hobson). This isolation pushes the cycle; as we feel lonely, we turn to social media for an outlet of comfort that only lasts for a short duration instead of actual conversation. This causes us to become lonely again because we feel left out then the cycle repeats itself (Hobson).

Additionally, social isolation can have detrimental impacts on physical health. Research done at Caltech” affirms that social isolation may cause depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in humans (Dajose) .” Researchers at Caltech further purport the idea that social isolation causes a build-up of chemicals in the brain that leads to more negative effects (Dajose). Technology has dehumanized us. It has damaged our communication skills by causing us to be more virtual than personal.

The Creation of Dehumanization and Depersonalization

A study done at Intel Corporation studied 120,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 24 and their response to technology; the results were that over half felt that they were addicted to technology, and it has dehumanized society (Chan). As stated before, as human beings, we are social creatures, and we value emotion and conversing with one another; however, instead of having family time or talking with friends, we choose to scroll through Instagram and Snapchat. This results in the loss of basic human connections such as kindness and empathy, as stated by Katherine King at Colby University (King). Technology has helped to damage relationships.

A study done by Pew Research Center on Couples, the Internet, and Social Media has supporting evidence that states” 25% of cell phone owners in a marriage or partnership had felt their spouse or partner was distracted by their cell phone when they were together (Lenhart and Duggan 1).” This evidence supports the claim that technology has enslaved us into becoming so addicted that we often neglect those around us by choosing to scroll through Facebook instead of having a face-to-face conversation. This is when we begin to lose our social self leading to dehumanization. In conclusion, technology has damaged our communication skills by decreasing face-face contact, increasing social isolation, and dehumanizing us.

Now knowing the damage technology has had on our communication skills, how can more families resolve the problem of technology at the dinner table? How can one personally find a balance? Overall without balance while using technology, our lives can get out of control. This causes problems such as social anxiety, depression, and a lack of empathy, as supported by various studies. So maybe next time you are in a social setting, you will POWER DOWN.


  1. Kroenke, C. H., Kubzansky, L. D., Schernhammer, E. S., Holmes, M. D., & Kawachi, I. (2006). Social networks, social support, and survival after breast cancer diagnosis. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 24(7), 1105-1111.
  2. Turkle, S. (2011). Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. New York, NY: Basic books.
  3. Raine, L., & Zickuhr, K. (2015). Americans’ Views on Mobile Etiquette. Pew Research Center.
  4. Radesky, J., Schumacher, J., & Zuckerman, B. (2015). Mobile and interactive media use by young children: the good, the bad, and the unknown. Pediatrics, 135(1), 1-3.
  5. Hobson, K. (2017). Increased time on social media is linked to uptick in perceived social isolation. NPR.
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Negative Effects of Social Media on Communication Skills: Destructive Impact. (2023, Jun 21). Retrieved from