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January 19, 2017

Kaspersky Lab Study Shows How Social Media Threatens Real-life Communication

Social media give us the freedom to communicate with our family, friends and colleagues; however, our seemingly happy digital lives could be damaging our real-life relationships.

A third of people admitted to communicating less face-to-face as a result of social media

Woburn, MA – January 19, 2017 – Social media give us the freedom to communicate with our family, friends and colleagues; however, our seemingly happy digital lives could be damaging our real-life relationships. New research from Kaspersky Lab shows that a third of people communicate less face-to-face as a result of social media.

Our personal relationships are changing as we communicate more via social media. The latest survey highlights that a third of people admitted that they now communicate less with their parents (31%), children (33%), partners (23%), and friends (35%) because they can see and communicate with them via social media.

“Studies show that today digital communication complements real-life communication,” said Dr. Astrid Carolus, Media Psychologist at the University of Würzburg. “We live in a globalized and highly mobile world resulting in distances between partners and family members. Digital communication is an opportunity to bridge the gaps in our modern lives caused by living in different cities or countries. However, digital communication cannot replace face-to-face communication - at least not always and not completely. Digital communication is less rich in terms of sensory channels affected, resulting in “reduced” sensory quality.”

Although people communicate less face-to-face, around half of respondents believe that the quality of their relationships does not suffer at all and is even better as a result of being connected with their loved ones online. Dr. Astrid Carolus warns that although it seems that the quality of our relationships is improving, people cannot always evaluate their online communication objectively: “Under certain circumstances they perceive their online communication as “hyper-personal communication” and thus they can misread and over-interpret the messages on social media. We feel especially close, we blind out the rather negative, focus on the possible positive intentions behind a message, and over-interpret.”

With the study finding that although social media can help ease communication channels and bridge distance barriers, it doesn’t always make people happy. It can strain relationships as well as leaving people feeling down and upset, as they constantly compare their lives to those of others. The hunt for “likes” and social validation leads people to share increasing amounts of private information on social media platforms, putting not only themselves but also their friends, family and colleagues at risk. For those who decide to shut themselves off from social media, the reality of losing a lifetime of digital memories, including photos and interactions, can make it difficult to do.

In order to mitigate the risks of the online world and prevent relationship damage in the real world, people need to be more cautious and cyber-savvy about the information they share on social media. To help people keep their memories safe, no matter how long their online social media journey, Kaspersky Lab is developing a new app, FFForget, which will enable people to back-up all of their memories from their social networks, keeping them in a safe, encrypted memory container.

The full Digital Lives report can be read here: https://usblog.kaspersky.com/digital-depression/10643/

About Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky Lab is a global cybersecurity company founded in 1997. Kaspersky Lab’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky Lab technologies and we help 270,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com.

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Media Contact:
Sarah Kitsos
781.503.2615
sarah.kitsos@kaspersky.com

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