These days, it’s so easy to get in touch with other people. Mobile phones have made it possible to contact just about anybody as long as we have their number. However, a new study suggests that this instant connectivity might be making us less emotionally available in reality.
According to researchers from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, people who have just used their mobile phones are more likely to pass up on opportunities to volunteer and help other people. This conclusion was reached when they conducted an experiment involving 20 college-age males and females. After a quick use of their mobile phones, the participants were less active in “pro-social” behavior compared to a control group.
What could be the reason behind such behavior? The study authors believe that all humans have a need to connect with other people. Once the need is sated, however, other activities that involve “pro-social” behavior don’t seem to matter as much. Talking to someone on a mobile phone is apparently enough to satisfy our need, and if you think about it, so does logging on to Facebook.
As negative as these effects may be, however, mobile phones aren’t all that bad. They have given parents a way to reach their children whenever they want. Business deals are also tracked more efficiently through them. In the end, what matters is that we balance the amount of social interactions we have via mobile with our face-to-face communication.
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(Photo by ibm4381 via Flickr Creative Commons)