Theallow us to send hundreds and hundreds of messages, be they of any kind, to any person completely free in most cases. This, which could be seen as a point in favor in every rule, also has its dark side, and is that the apps type,or Facebook Messenger they prevent seeing the other person , thus eliminating a fundamental part of the communication: the non-verbal . That causes that, in many occasions, we do not have so much squeamishness in criticizing and insulting the rest of people , since we do not observe the emotional response of the receiver.
It has been Susan Holtzman, from the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, who has been responsible for publishing the firstthat inquires into the differences that there are (emotionally) between insults and criticism in person and through messaging apps . The research will come out in volume 87 of the magazine Computers in Human Behavior, and its results are really interesting. Let’s see them
Despite the ease with which users can send potentially harmful messages, it is unclear how the impact of these messages is compared to in-person interactions “- Drew DeClerck, Susan Holtzman (2018).
The investigation was carried out in a sample of 172 people between 18 and 25 years old – demographic sector known as “emerging adults” -. These were randomly divided into three groups: 1) those who received criticism in person, 2) those who received them through text message, or 3) control group. All participants received damaging words from a woman of similar age.
After the tests, the members of groups 1 and 2 confirmed have felt a more negative affect towards the person who issued criticism and an increase in stress -something normal, at the end of the day is a person who is hurting you verbally-. Nevertheless, “No significant differences were found in the levels of affection and stress” , the author points out. That is, insult us to the face or WhatsApp, both situations produce the same sensations towards the issuer. Now, the thing changes as far as emotional impact is concerned.
“Those with a low level of mental attention reported a greater feeling of hurt feelings when they were criticized through messages” , says Hotlzman. “This could be preliminary evidence that mindfulness could play a protective role by receiving criticism through mobile messaging.” , keep going. In the same way, “These findings are also important in the light of the emerging evidence that efforts to make amends through digital communication may be less effective than in-person communication to foster positive affect and bonding.” , concludes.
So, what the conclusions of the study come to tell us is that, by paying less attention when we talk about WhatsApp, We may feel worse when receiving criticism or insults than if we received them in person . The reason is simple: when we speak face to face We turn our attention to what we are doing , so we can stop to reflect on how to interpret the words and what we are going to say next.
Other studies have shown that emerging adults tend to be more open and honest when they speak by message, so they are more willing to say harmful things that they would not say in person (Kelly et al., 2012, Reid & Reid, 2010).
Finally, the study concludes by saying that “[Users] should think first about the characteristics of the receiver” and that, although it is true that one can not know them exactly, “You can make an estimate based on the previous behavior of the person and their relationship with him” . In a nutshell, that Before insulting or criticizing anyone for WhatsApp, it is better to count to 10 and think twice what you are going to say. Or not insult, directly. Things can be said in many ways, you do not have to be unpleasant.