In the past 15 years, the Internet has transitioned from a medium that’s interacted with strictly though desktop computers in homes, offices and computer labs to one that a growing number of people take with them everywhere they go. Whether via laptops, ever-evolving mobile phone devices or through Internet-connected workstations in the office and at home, many are online all the time.
We’re checking multiple e-mail accounts and peer networking sites, in addition to texting and instant messaging our friends, family and co-workers almost constantly. If we’re not glued to the computer screen, we’re plugged in through our headphones, catching the latest music or podcasts.
There’s no denying the convenience of all of this. But what is the social impact of making online technology so omnipresent?
As with anything else, there are advantages and disadvantages. John Grohol, CEO and founder of Psych Central, who has been writing about mental health and psychology issues online since 1992, feels a big benefit of this accelerated level of Internet involvement is that it strengthens interpersonal connections.
“Before, you might call your friend once every couple months if they’re long distance or keep in touch with them via e-mail every now and again, but it really wasn’t a day-to-day interaction,” Grohol said. “There was far more time between your interactions with your long-distance friends.”
Peer networking sites and instant messaging brings people geographically removed from one another into each other’s lives more casually, making it a daily interactive stream. “Technology allows those interactions to…
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