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October 30, 2014

Social Isolation and Spending Too Much Time Online

We live in an amazing time. Thanks to technology, you can chat with your grandchild three states away, reconnect with college friends, and share photographs of what happens in your daily life. Email, social networks, and smart phones have made staying in touch with your social circle as simple as clicking a button.  

As wonderful as social media and online connecting can be for maintaining relationships, it’s important to remember your online life isn’t a substitute for a active social life in the flesh. Though being online can combat loneliness, it can also make you feel more isolated than ever if not used as only part of a balanced social life.  

The Dangers of Spending Too Much Time Online & Social Isolation

A moderate amount of time online can be a great supplement to your social life, especially when you’re trying to stay in touch with long distance friends. However, what can begin as an effort to be more socially active can also lead to a decline in an organic social life.

Spending too much time online can lead to negative health effects. For example, spending time online is primarily a sedentary activity, and prolonged periods of sitting down can have long-term health consequences. And while an online social life certainly has its benefits, you likely won’t receive the cognitive benefits of a verbal conversation or the mental benefits of human contact.

How do you know if you’re spending too much time online? Here are three signs:

  • You opt for virtual meet ups when an in-person option is available

  • You type more than you speak

  • Even when socializing in person, you find yourself gravitating toward devices with online capabilities

Finding a Healthy Balance

One thing’s for sure: It doesn’t have to be one or the other. There are certainly ways to have a combined online and in-person social life so you can reap the benefits of both mediums and connect with more loved ones, near and far. Find a healthy balance by pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. If you’re someone who prefers interactions from behind a computer screen, challenge yourself to two in-person socialization activities per week. Or, if you’re interested in learning more about online interactions, make it a goal to learn the ropes of a new social media site.

Would you like to learn more about how your social life impacts your overall health? See this informative eBook!

Understand Mental Health


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