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Screens are keeping us connected now - but they're still disruptive to in-person communication

The still face experiment

In the experiment, parents freely play with their young children but are then instructed to be unresponsive by using a smartphone for a few minutes. After the period, parents may respond normally again.

In the experiment, children became distressed and discouraged when they could not connect with their parents. If the parents spent high levels of screentime at home, children showed less emotional resilience and greater difficulty reconnecting with their parents.

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Screens are keeping us connected now - but they're still disruptive to in-person communication

Screens are keeping us connected now - but they're still disruptive to in-person communication

https://theconversation.com/screens-are-keeping-us-connected-now-but-theyre-still-disruptive-to-in-person-communication-133993

theconversation.com

4

Key Ideas

Disruption

Digital technology has been indispensable during the current health crisis but its impact on human relationships remains complex. It is often intrusive and damaging to face-to-face relationships.

Smartphones and technologies like television have been aggressively designed to control and grab human attention while drawing attention away from one another.

It's in the eyes

From the early years, babies tune into their caregivers' eyes to find comfort and understand emotion.

Today, with the use of mobile technology, the visual impact between people is often disrupted.

The still face experiment

In the experiment, parents freely play with their young children but are then instructed to be unresponsive by using a smartphone for a few minutes. After the period, parents may respond normally again.

In the experiment, children became distressed and discouraged when they could not connect with their parents. If the parents spent high levels of screentime at home, children showed less emotional resilience and greater difficulty reconnecting with their parents.

Adult disconnectedness

A study looked at the power of a shared gaze in the context of adult problem-solving.

If adults in a working group were interrupted by another participant by breaking eye contact, texting, and talking on their phone, they thought the offending partner was rude; they showed less happiness and more anxiety.

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