Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

The High Tech Approach To College Camaraderie

The Washington Post featured an article about how social networking tools like Facebook are influencing student socialization at college.  Some say that the frenetic texting, online communications, and iPhone chatter are causing students to lose the ability to socialize normally in-person.  Others say that technology levels the social “playing field” for introverts.  I interviewed Revolution Health’s psychologist, Dr. Mark Smaller, to get his thoughts on the matter.  Feel free to add your perspective in the comments section of this blog.

Dr. Val: The article
suggests that technology can become a social crutch, keeping people from making
new friends.  Do you think that the
Internet can isolate students from one another?

Dr. Smaller: I think the long term impact of the Internet in
social interactions is unclear.  For now
such technology does allow students to remain in touch with one another
instantly, but that’s not too different from what the telephone did for
previous generations.  If anything, I’d
say that technology can interfere with isolation, especially for the new
college student away from home for the first time.  If there is a propensity for isolation, any
activity in excess – reading, school work, drinking, etc. will become the means
to continue that isolation.

Dr. Val: Do you think
that social networking and Internet based methods of communication are
particularly healthy for introverts?

Dr. Smaller: Being able to communicate sincerely or
genuinely but indirectly and not in person may help the otherwise shy person.  Some of our most brilliant artists and
writers have used their craft as a means to communicate to others in ways they
could not in social situations.

Dr. Val: Overall do
you think that socializing via the Internet is a good thing or a bad thing for
college students?

Dr. Smaller: One things is certain on and off the Internet:
relationships for children, adolescents, and adults can become quite intense
with this way of communicating because of fantasy and anonymity.  Previous generations used the art of letter
writing to express intense feelings, followed by the telephone, and now online
communication.  What they all have in
common is the essential human need to connect – including the satisfaction of
doing so and the frustration when it chronically does not occur.This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

You may also like these posts

    None Found

Read comments »

Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »

Commented - Most Popular Articles