The Benefits of Online Interaction

Nic Gulizia, Editor

It’s April of 2020. You wake up on a spring day during quarantine, locked away from the outside world, your friends, and your extended family. You end up turning on your gaming console, computer, or phone to keep in touch with the people you used to see every single day. Although it isn’t the same as meeting them in person, you do the best that you can during the pandemic.


Technology has changed the way we communicate with each other since it was invented. But in the past year, it’s become even more important to people than ever before. Whether it be your PS4, XBOX, computer, iPad, or smartphone, most have had to find new ways to connect with each other.


Gaming has become even more popular than ever. With everyone stuck at home for the past year, gaming has helped people pass the time and talk to their friends. 


“55 percent of people (Americans) picked up video games out of boredom to escape the real world, to socialize during the first phases of lockdown,” according to Nielsen Company SuperData’s “2020 Year in Review.” 


Without video games to help out those struggling with detachment from others, mental health would have been an even bigger issue than it already is. Talking with your friends while you play your favorite game is one of the best ways to laugh and have a good time, which is something everyone needs during quarantine.


Many friendships and relationships revolved around technology to stay alive, some of them deteriorating over the last year due to fewer in-person interactions.


In a study done by psychology lecturer Shane Rodgers, 27% of people stated that they had a deteriorated friendship. Among those people, they were more likely to not have increased their use of technology for communication. Most people reported that they saw no change in friendship over quarantine, but around half of them did use technology more to communicate with their friends. Only 7% of people saw an improvement in friendships, and 85% of those people used technology a lot more to stay connected with friends.


The overall use of technology as a means of communication clearly had a positive impact on friendships. Many people planned on traveling to see family, which was canceled due to covid. Using platforms such as facetime and zoom has been a good enough alternative for families, rather than meeting in person. 


“The use of video chatting helped reduce the risk of depression in people aged 60 and older, a group that is more likely to be socially isolated than younger people. Video chatting was more effective than email, social media, and instant messaging,” Alan Teo, a physician, found in a study. 


Social isolation affected everyone, especially affecting older adults. Being able to see your grandkids or kids over the phone isn’t exactly the same, but it worked more than not seeing them at all.


The past year has been hard for all of us, and we have the technology to thank for helping us out through those times.