Are digital technologies making us anti-social?

I chose ‘true’, and it was incorrect! It was SO difficult to come to an answer – whether to choose true or false, because for me the answer was in between yes and no, and there weren’t any more choice to choose beside ‘true’ and ‘false’. I guess digital technologies making us anti-social in a way that people involve and engage less (or even disengaged) with the people actually around them, but engaging with the people using their smartphones through the social media such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat and many many more.

Thank you to Maree, who shared the term”phubbing” from this article – Are smartphones making us less social? to describe the phenomenon – a group of people with their eyes on the screen (smartphones, iPads etc.). Phubbing: “the act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention.”

So.. Is technology really making us anti-social?

A simple definition of antisocial from Merriam-Webster:

  • Violent or harmful to people;
  • Not friendly to other people

A full definition of antisocial from Merriam-Webster:

  • averse to the society of others :  unsociable: not liking to be with other people
  • hostile or harmful to organized society; especially :  being or marked by behavior deviating sharply from the social norm

Understanding the definition and combining both together – digital technologies and anti-social, are we becoming violent or harmful to people with the use of digital technologies? Yes, we might be, there are issues of cyber-bullying. Are we really becoming unsociable? Maybe or maybe not. Are we really becoming not friendly to other people? We don’t know that because what if we are socialise with and being friendly to other people through different means (such as social media)?

“Technology does not determine human behavior; humans determine how technologies are used.” (Rainie & Wellman, 2012) We, humans are in control of how we use the technologies. We, humans make decisions of our actions.

The following image concludes my thinking:


There is a lot more than what human eyes can see. We only can perceived those very small part shows: the conscious. The greater part, however, remains hidden: the subconscious. Putting it together, we think about technology in the ways we perceived it, however, it is more than that, we will also need to think in deeper levels to really understand it.

Some interesting readings about explore the unconscious mind by using iceberg thinking:





Rainie, L., & Wellman, B. (2012). Networked: The new social operating system. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.



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