Communication

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Student Question

How does social behavior differ between your online and offline interactions? Provide specific examples of changes in perception, behavior, and thinking.

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This is an appropriate question in view of the shift that is taking place in communication. 

Online communication is a boom to humanity, to be sure. However, there are some downsides to online communication, which requires some insight. 

First, we need to realize that much communication takes place non-verbally. People speak with their hands, their eyes, and body positions. All of these are lost when we only communication online. In other words, important social cues are diminished online.

Second, because we are not dealing with people face to face, it is possible to forget that we are dealing with real people with real emotions. The result of this is that we can be cruel, insensitive, and uncaring. 

In light of these two points, we need extra caution when it comes to communicating with people online. 

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Which theories of social psychology apply to the differences between online and offline interactions? Provide specific examples of changes in perception, behavior, and thinking.

Different dynamics exist when it comes to online and offline interactions. The biggest difference is that when a person is online, they do not see a person. More specifically, they do not see the non-verbal types of communication that exist in our world. The roll of the eye, a grin, body language, and the like are completely missed when it comes to online communication. Because of this, there is less sensitivity, as we miss these marks of communication. 

In addition, because the idea of another person is not front and center, this lack of sensitivity could cause a person to minimize inhibitions. In other words, what you would never say to a person face to face, you might say online. This is why cyber-bullying is such a big problem these days. 

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