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February 20, 2017
Relax, Your Smartphone Probably Isn't Destroying Your Relationships
 
In a 2011 study at Stanford University, researchers asked a group of girls ages 8 to 12 by to surf the internet for up to five hours, then share how happy and socially comfortable they felt. The results weren’t encouraging. The more time the girls spent online, the less content and at ease in social settings they became, compared to peers whose screen time was more limited. Two years later, a separate study found that the mere presence of a cell phone during a face-to-face conversation reduces feelings of closeness, trust, and relationship quality—even if the phone isn’t being used.

The fear that our reliance on technology is preventing us from connecting face-to-face in real time is nothing new. And while the data pointing in that direction should give us pause, there’s another story as well, about how technology itself can help us roll back some of the problems it’s created. Geographically divided families who communicate on Skype, and deployed soldiers who read bedtime stories to their kids over FaceTime, know this already.

But it’s worth pointing out that these aren’t shabby substitutes for other forms of communication, they’re new ones altogether. And they may hold the key for everybody to start using their gadgets in more human ways.

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This article was published on Fast Company. A link to the original piece appears after the post. www.fastcompany.com
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