You have probably heard it said by now, at least in some way shape or form, that the booming popularity of social media platforms in the last couple of years has taken away the requirement of personal interaction. You can communicate all you want today, in 2014, without ever seeing a person’s face or even hearing their voice. I think our unquestioning acceptance of these platforms comes hand in hand (or should I say text in text) with crippling effects that we have not stopped to think about. These effects are not just limited to social media but also text messaging and the web as a whole. With so many avenues of non-personal communication available today there is a good chance that devoting extended time to these platforms may result in negative effects on your current relationships and devastating effects on future relationships.

Advertising Age’s Marketing Fact Pack 2014 reports that the most popular smartphone activity among adult users was “Talk” at an average usage time of 93.2% over a seven-day period (p32). The second most popular activity was “Text/picture/video message” at 92.7%. These percentages are dangerously close. I would venture to say that “text/picture/video message” will likely trump “talk” by this time next year.

If we lose the art of interpersonal face to face communication how will this affect our marriages or our relationships with our children? Communication is hard enough in a face to face environment. I for one am amazed that we as humans ever understand each other. If you subtract the face to face aspect you are increasing your chances of being misunderstood. Misunderstanding can put stress and tension on a relationship. Has anyone sent you a negative text message? You respond only to later find out that you interpreted the message incorrectly and you wish you hadn’t jumped to that conclusion. I know I’ve been there, misinterpreted that. There is also good chance that you had to talk to the person directly to clear up the misunderstanding, ironic huh?

If you stop building and strengthening foundations, what happens to the relationships? This is just regarding the relationships that already had a foundation. How will it affect the new relationships we will make in the future? How will it affect the relationships your children will make? Keep a look out for “Can you have a Healthy Relationship when Technology is Involved?” Part II.

What do you think? Does today’s technology have any effect on interpersonal relationships? Do you think interpersonal relationships are overrated?