Friday January 20, 2012
Disconnected from real life
By WONG PEK MEI
PETALING JAYA: Social networking can be addictive and stunt personal interaction, say experts.
People frequent websites like Facebook due to easy access via mobile devices, but “such convenience is distracting people from having real social interaction with another human being”, said psychologist and counsellor Adnan Omar.
“For example, a couple missed an opportunity to have true interaction with each other by going out for dinner, only to be surfing the Net or checking e-mail on their mobile devices,” he told The Star recently.
It was reported on Jan 10 that a nationwide study showed that Malaysian mobile web users on average spend 20% of their time on social media like Facebook and Twitter, 18% on music or videos, 17% on playing games, 14% on searches for general information and 13% on e-mail.
Adnan was concerned that society might lose its ability to connect with the people within.
“We may know people in Russia but we do not know our own neighbours although they are just one wall away,” he said.
“If you're spending more than 25 hours per week social networking for other than work or academic reasons, you're addicted to it. It does not help that the Internet is readily available and you don't have to turn it off.”
Adnan said addicts had the urge to check their phone constantly and felt “empty deep inside” if they did not do so.
“When people post their pictures and updates, they are waiting for compliments to make them feel fulfilled. The other reason is that they need to kill time and would feel useless or uncomfortable if they do not do anything.
“Technology creates activities but not necessarily productivity although it makes us feel that way,” Adnan said.