White Papers

Social Entertainment: The Negative Effect of Social Media on Interpersonal Relationships


Immix Games explores the relationship between social media and interpersonal communication and their affect on the quality of life we all have. Face-to-face interaction is a necessity in our social structure, with the best form of entertainment in a face-to-face setting being board games rather than other media or mediums.

Social Interactions Through Various Forms

Throughout the last century, technology has advanced to the point where the strides are being made digitally rather than mechanically. Much of the attraction these days is the digital interaction granted on a large scale by those websites which have been termed social media. The unfortunate affect of this is the more time individuals spend online decreases the time they spend with face-to-face interaction, which is known to improve quality of life (i). Quite simply, one cannot receive the greatest benefits of social interaction on a digital scale. We at Immix Games explore here the relationship between a good life and social interactions in all forms.

The Negative Effect of Social Media on Lives

A study in 2011 found that the use of the internet for interpersonal communication has a negative impact on people’s quality of life.i With increased usage of the internet, especially among our teenage population, this is a concerning factor. From 2000 to 2004, internet use among teens increased 127% with daily use increasing 145% (ii). The use of Social Media negatively impacts teens emotional health, with cyberbullying and non-suicidal self-injury topping the list (iii).

As you interact with people face-to-face, about 65% of the situation is conveyed non-verbally (iv). Digital communication for the most part does not include a single whit of non-verbal communication; it does not even contain verbal communication, but rather communicates via text, which loses verbal cues as well. Even with more development in visual communication online, non-mediated face-to-face communication and interpersonal touch will remain important. The 2011 study concluded that the use of the internet for interpersonal communication cannot replace face-to-face communication in improving quality of life.

Even with the studies explored, there exists little research on how Social Media affects our daily life. Recently a former Facebook executive, Chamath Palihapitiya, spoke about how Facebook has begun to destroy how society works with dopamine-driven feedback loops. Can we permit this use to permeate our everyday lives? Now this is not to say that Social Media is a terrible thing; though it cannot replace face-to-face interpersonal communication, there is great regard in bringing together people from across the world that would not have met otherwise. Where does the next step lie?

Increasing Interpersonal Interaction

Once met, cultivating interpersonal interactions can bring a greater bind to any relationship. Quality of life can improve by talking with family or friends face-to-face for 10 minutes or more.i Unfortunately as perceived distance from individual to individual has decreased, so too has the art of communication from the individuals. Once hours might be spent crafting the finest letter before having it delivered. With greater impact on the content because of the time taken before it was received, we put forth ourselves more into the task. Now however, many teens cannot be bothered to complete simple three-letter words such as you or are, and instead opt for a single letter u or r. But as noted before, binds to interpersonal relationships need not be verbal or textual.

Consider the role of entertainment in relationships. A classic staple in the dating scene suggests watching a movie together can bring two individuals closer. Many use the digital frontier as a form of entertainment via video games. Unfortunately, where once sitting next to your pal playing a game on the same screen was the life, now a majority of multi-player games on the different systems require the internet, with one player per console. There is, however, one form of entertainment which encourages discourse, and non-verbal interaction and communication.

Board games, loosely interpreted as to include games of cards and dice without a board, are a means by which individuals are encouraged to come together and enjoy each other’s company as well as the game. This is even more true in recent years as such concepts as cooperative games and legacy games are becoming ever more popular. Whereas once playing Monopoly or Uno might tear a family apart with distress and grudges over parts of the game, games in which all players work against the board game serve to bring players closer together. Legacy games are intended to bring the players back again and again in order to prevail against the game, or at times against each other.

Certain board games have brought individuals together, who would not have found each other otherwise, much like social media might, but instead of media, it is social medium: tangible and approachable. To any avid board game enthusiast, such a repast is far preferable to anything social media might offer. Engaging with one another in new and different ways, sometimes affected by a game such as in Curses, with only serve to enhance our quality of life, as our interpersonal discourse and reactions will bind us.

The New and the Bold

There is much out there that can be improved upon. Some classic board games will remain just that: classic, but others fade with time. Newer games are making greater strides in engaging the imagination by incorporating a greater theme within the game, or by necessitating greater interaction between players in order to win. But even with these advancements, Immix Games seeks to broaden the way interpersonal communication improves our lives through multiplayer tangible games that serve to bring together individuals and knit a closer bond between them.


i: Lee, P., Leung, L., Lo, V., Xiong, C., & Wu, T. (2011). Internet Communication Versus Face-to-face Interaction in Quality of Life. Social Indicators Research, 100(3), 375-389. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41476404

ii: Lenhart, A., Macgill, A., Madden, M., & Smith, A. (2007) Teens and Social Media. Pew Research Center, Washington D.C. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/files/old-media/Files/Reports/2007/PIP_Teens_Social_Media_Final.pdf.pdf

iii: Christofferson, Jenna Palermo, "How is Social Networking Sites Effecting Teen’s Social and Emotional Development: A Systemic Review" (2016). Master of Social Work Clinical Research Papers. Paper 650. http://sophia.stkate.edu/msw_papers/650

iv: Birdwhistell, R. (1970). Kinesics and context. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania