Here is something for digital natives to watch out for: too much online surfing can hurt you. This sounds strange but the real lesson has something to do with introverts vs extraverts: the latter like face to face better while the former prefer hiding behind the computer screens. To a certain extent online exposure is used as a proxy for introverts. We need to check to make sure that is a correct proxy before jumping into conclusions.
One thing is clear however that face to face always have richer info than online communication: the non-verbal clues.
Exposure to digital media is reconfiguring the neural networks of young people, possibly at the expense of empathy and social skills. Extraverts with high self-esteem and certain personality traits tend to initiate face-to-face (FtF) contact with strangers; introverts lower in self-esteem use computer-mediated communication (CMC). Those who are overreliant on CMC miss nonverbal cues indicating deception and insincerity. This research suggests that many who have been raised in the Internet Age may be ill suited for high-trust professions involving the establishment of FtF relationships. Greater use of psychological tests and observations of applicants engaged in behaviors that reveal desired personality traits are in order.
Today’s young digital natives may be ill-suited for jobs in high-trust fields such as diplomacy and sales, because prolonged exposure to computers is reconfiguring their neural networks and possibly diminishing their empathy and social skills, says John K. Mullen of Gonzaga University. With 55% of person-to-person communication being nonverbal (tone of voice, inflection), overreliance on computer-based interactions may hamper an individual’s ability to judge intent and influence others, Mullen suggests.
via The Impact of Computer Use on Employee Performance in High-Trust Professions: Re-Examining Selection Criteria in the Internet Age – MULLEN – 2011 – Journal of Applied Social Psychology – Wiley Online Library.