In a study that should surprise no one, new research suggests that a person can increase their feelings of belongingness — the sense of being in a social situation — by simply watching television. TV can act as a social surrogate for actual human contact, making us feel like we have a social relationship with the TV characters. It may not be real social relationship, but it appears that may not really matter in terms of its relief of feelings of social isolation and rejection.
And if television can be shown to do this, it’s not a huge leap to imagine the value of the Internet in also relieving social isolation. In fact, some research has already been published that shows just that (see previous link).
Is any of this a “good” thing? Well, it depends on how you look at it. If you’re home-bound or an older person who has lost all of their friends and family, you don’t have a lot of choices in where you can grab your social interactions. If you can get something that provides similar relief from feelings of loneliness and rejection from television or the Internet, it may be sufficient (and more than sufficient in some cases) for people faced with such a situation.
The world is changing in front of us (as it changed in front of previous generations). But this time around, technology is changing the very core of many of our social interactions and relationships, moving them from the face-to-face world to the virtual, always-on world.
Read the full article: T.V. Can Ease Loneliness and Rejection.