Science Says Social Media Does Not Displace Human Contact

Social media is a good way to keep in touch with loved ones, and a new study confirms it hasn’t replaced real-life social interactions. University of Kansas researchers compared two sets of data from the Longitudinal Study of American Youth from 2009 and 2011, to see if there was a decrease in interpersonal contact that could be correlated with increased use of social media—and found there was no such relationship. Another experiment found social media use had no impact on the people study participants spoke to later in the day. Study leader Jeffrey Hall explains, “What was interesting was that, during a time of really rapid adoption of social media, and really powerful changes in use, you didn’t see sudden declines in people’s direct social contact. If the social-displacement theory is correct, people should get out less and make fewer of those phone calls, and that just wasn’t the case.” (EurekAlert!