Does Modern Technology Help or Hinder the Social Lives of Introverts? - Introvert Spring

introvert smart phone

In today’s world of modern technology and fancy gadgets, it’s an interesting time to be an introvert. The way we communicate and spend time has changed significantly, thanks to the internet, smartphones, and social media. While introverts tend to be introspective and quiet, their personalities can shift dramatically when they interact online. It can take effort for an introvert to find the right balance between online entertainment and real-world interactions.

When a quiet person becomes passionate and chatty online, that’s usually considered a good thing. Humans are social, and we all have a need to join groups and interact with each other. When an introvert is able to find online friends — whether it’s with a gaming clan on Twitch, a Facebook book club, or some other online forum — it provides a great opportunity for interaction and self-expression.

The isolation issue

But is modern technology always good for introverts? It’s possible that our tablets and smartphones enable introverts to become increasingly withdrawn and isolated. One one hand, introverts “talk” more online through email, messaging apps, forums, and social sites like Twitter. Something about chatting online makes all of us less shy, and through social media, we can connect with like-minded individuals who all share things in common.

On the other hand, our modern technology can isolate introverts even more. Why talk to people in real life, when it’s easier to just sit in the corner and stare at a phone or tablet? As our social lives move to the digital world, our real world relationships can tend to weaken and fade.

It’s important to remember that introverts are not mean and unfriendly. Many people are just naturally quiet, either because they genuinely enjoy spending time alone, or because their perceived social awkwardness makes them feel uncomfortable.

The introvert obsession with smart phones

We all love our smartphones, and with good reason. The supercomputers we keep in our pockets are a wonderful source for information and entertainment. We scramble to buy the latest models with the fastest processors and the brightest screens. Somewhere, there’s already a line forming for the next new iPhone, and hundreds of online groups have popped up to discuss the newest camera, rapid charger, and colorful iPhone Xs Max cases.

Smartphones allow for humans to connect more easily than ever before. You can hop onto a chat room and talk with people halfway around the world. Thanks to broadband and improved compression technology, communication goes beyond writing comments and transforms online interaction into real-time video chat, where we can see and hear each other anywhere in the world. 

Anti-social or selectively social?

As technology increases our ability to communicate and connect with others, you may wonder if it creates an additional barrier for introverts. It really depends on a person’s point of view. If you are a family member, friend, neighbor, or classmate, you may become annoyed with the introvert sitting quietly and staring at their phone. While everyone else is talking and laughing, that person is not joining the group. 

To be fair, one person’s barrier is another person’s connection. The introvert typing on his phone could be chatting with a gaming buddy from another country and having a great time.  So while a sibling or classmate may become annoyed at this introvert’s social “barrier,” the introvert is actually being social, in his or her own way. Spending time on your phone is not necessarily unhealthy.

And yet, escaping the real world entirely is also not healthy. Kids need to be able to go to school, do their homework, and learn important social skills in order to succeed in life. Adults should strive to be good neighbors, focus on their family, seek personal enrichment, and become positive members of society. When an introvert starts ignoring the real world completely, neglecting real friends and family, then it’s likely that smartphones and technology have become an additional social barrier.

It sure is an interesting time to be alive. Modern technology and our wonderful gadgets create so many opportunities for introverts to step out of their shells and connect with others. At the same time, staring at a smartphone for too long can indeed become a barrier for introverts. If you find yourself always reaching for your phone during social situations, it wouldn’t hurt to resist the urge. Try to smile and make eye contact instead. When you can find the right balance between the real world and online fun, then you can enjoy the best of both worlds.