Technology is one of the key factors that has given our generation the ability to gain access to information faster. One piece of technology that has given us the ability to almost instantaneously gain information is the Internet. The Internet is a window to the world and allows people to gain perspective from anywhere. The Internet has greatly influenced our conflict resolution skills. Prior to the Internet people were depended on inter-personal skills to solve problems.
When one person had a problem with another person he/she would have to directly address that individual and work on ways to solve the problem. When people are able to solve problems face-to-face they are able to read each other’s body language and pick up on other nonverbal cues; therefore avoiding the miscommunications that technology can create.
The Internet has also inhibited our ability to handle conflict resolutions in person-person interactions. The reason being is social media. Over 713 million people from ages 15 or older use social media (153 million in the USA alone) to discuss their days and problems they are having (Drussell, J. 2012). Unfortunately, when vent their frustrations to the Internet they do not always get the best criticism in how to handle the situation and if the person is not articulate enough in their writing then there could be significant pieces of information missing causing even more conflict.
Another issue with the Internet use to deal with conflict resolution is the inability to see how the other person is responding. And hear the tone in their voice. A simple phrase such as, it does not matter, can be read so many different ways causing even more problems. The other significant issue that the Internet has caused to conflict resolution is when people actually do interact with each other. Those that depend heavily on communication through the Internet have no concept on how to handle stressful situations and will either retreat out of fear and anxiety or become explosive and make things worse (Mentzer, K., 2003).
The Internet is a beneficial tool in research and a place to share and exchange thoughts; however dealing with conflict resolution should be dealt with in person. Also, people need to re-invest in person-person relationships again so that when an issue arises it will be simpler to deal with the situation and the confrontation will be minimal as the individuals will be able to communicate and read each other’s body language therefore avoiding miscommunications.
Drussell, J. (2012). Social Networking and Interpersonal Communication and Conflict Resolution Skills among College Freshmen. Master of Social Work Clinical Research Papers. Paper 21. http://sophia.stkate.edu/msw_papers/21.
Mentzer, K. (2003). Disadvantages of the Internet. Psychological Effects of the Internet. http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/Spring03/Mentzer/disadvantages.html.