As more and more interaction goes online due to work being increasingly remote, we find that we are staring at our digital selves on the laptop or smartphone screen more often than usual. Social scientists are looking at the long-term effects of being connected via screens in our homes, isolated from real people.
If we like ourselves, we would find pleasure in being on video calls, but if we are self-critical, the same negative feelings would be amplified. The screens act like digital mirrors, showing us more of what we believe in.
Being self-concerned while on a video call is natural. We can see after a while that our face is tensed up and has a quizzical look.
New studies show that friends behave differently in video interactions and the in-person ones. Virtual meetings put us in a muted state, both physically and emotionally.
A small percentage of people are excessively focused on real or imagined flaws related to their looks, and look in the mirror quite often. The people find mirrors a force that controls, imprisons and paralyses them.
Even if we don’t fall under that bracket, constantly seeing ourselves in the (digital) mirror may increase the self-analysis, monitoring or evaluation.
Large group video calls often tend to be comparison contests, increasing self-critical behaviour.
To minimize negative feelings or bad habits, we can fiddle with the settings to minimize our faces, or put the screen image placement to the bottom of the screen. We can also use sticky notes to block any distractions and focus on actual work. We can also put our complete focus on the person we are interacting with, looking for visual cues.
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