People now have more 'digital conversations' than speak face-to-face

People now have more 'digital conversations' than speak face-to-face

The number of face-to-face conversations we have is declining sharply with people now communicating online far more often

By Michael MoranAudience Writer 13:08, 18 DEC 2019 UPDATED16:32, 18 DEC 2019

Professor Sherry Turkle says social media and digital conversations are ‘deteriorating interaction’ between people.

Humans are social animals. Communication is our superpower. It’s why we survived the Ice Age and bigger, tougher, animals like sabre-toothed tigers and mammoths didn’t.

But now we’re facing a challenge more powerful than any glacier or snowstorm: mobile phones.

As 2019 ticks over into 2020 it has been revealed that the number of digital conversations – texts, emails, WhatsApps and the like – have overtaken face-to-face chats in the UK for the first time.

According to new research from leading insurance broker LifeSearch, the number of face-to-face conversations we have in a day has decreased by 15% in the last five years.

Brits say this is down to more people living alone, the increasing popularity of working from home or, sadly, just ‘having fewer friends’ to spend time with.

What’s worse, despite the rise in digital communication, the overall number of conversations we have – even including texts and emails – is on the decline. Over a million lonely Brits admit that they quite often go a whole day without talking to anyone, either face to face or online.

Even when it comes to talking to our loved ones, half of us say that the traditional family dinner time discussion is a thing of the past, with more and more of us using methods such as the phone, messaging apps or social media to catch up with family.

Modern life means that families can be scattered across the country, or just too busy to talk to each other like they used to. And 14% (about one in seven) of us feel happier communicating digitally.

Emma Walker from LifeSearch comments: “The traditional concept of having those in-depth conversations around the dinner table doesn’t happen anymore – we lead busy lives and often operate on different schedules to our family and friends, and sometimes it’s just easier to communicate through a screen.

“But this is proving to be a barrier to the traditional ‘deep and meaningful’, meaning that we’re not getting to the bottom of the issues that matter.

Protection all starts with one open, honest conversation so we’re urging the nation to start talking openly and honestly about these issues that matter most, to not only safeguard their family’s future, but their own too.”

The findings have been released by LifeSearch as part of its Let’s Start Talking campaign, which aims to encourage Britons to have ‘deep and meaningfuls' about the big things in life.


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