As we all know, online communications like email and social media have greatly changed the way we communicate with friends and family. While knocking on each other’s doors, unexpectedly calling friends to catch up and meeting for a bite to eat used to be the norm. It’s now considered proper to email before visiting, text before calling and meet for a Google+ Hangout instead of meeting at a coffee shop.Given these abrupt changes, do adults feel that online communications have strengthened or weakened their relationships with family and friends?
In general adults seem to agree that online communications have been good for them; 67% say that email, online chatting and the like have strengthened their relationships with family and friends. Interestingly, when Pew broke down responses to this question by demographic, the general proportions remained the same. Regardless of whether a person was a man or a woman, young or old, rich or poor, highly educated or not, they responded that online communications enhanced their personal relationships in a 3-to-1 ratio.
When it comes to interpersonal relationships outside of a person’s family or friends, internet users generally find other internet users to be kind. While 76% of internet users said the people they encountered online were mostly kind, only 13% said people were mostly unkind online.
Additionally, 56% of internet users report seeing an online group of people come together to help others solve a problem, compared to 25% who report having left an online group because interactions became heated or members were unpleasant to each other.
Over the last 25 years the World Wide Web has prompted us to accept the internet into our lives and view it as an indispensable technology. It’s changed not only the way we interact with older technologies like television and landline phones but also the way we interact with strangers, family and friends. I can’t help but wonder what other changes the Web will bring us in the future.