Is Social Media stifling Emotional Intelligence?

Is Social Media stifling Emotional Intelligence?


Today, I read the most insightful perspective on social media by Arianna Huffington. In her article published on the Huffington Post, Disconnect: A New Movie Sounds the Alarm About Our Hyper-Connected Lives, she makes some astute observations from the movie, Disconnect. Social media or the internet is a form of technological distraction from life, leading us to miss out on many potential treasured memories.

(I have to admit my recent venture into blogging is distracting, but enjoyable. My problems seem less important the more I write—yes, leading to procrastination, but also, opening my mind to new possibilities. It’s a double-edged sword.)

She concluded that too much dependence on technology dulls one’s ability to connect with others. I see that happening with many children. One problem I often think about is whether 24/7 internet produces maladaptive behaviors in young, developing minds that come in contact with self-destructive groups. For many marginalized children, the internet offers hope of belongingness, but at what price? If belonging means not only adopting destructive behaviors but also becoming disconnected very early in life, then that is not good! Both instances inevitably lead to poor educational, economic, and health outcomes.

I believe this paradoxical finding is a by-product of Internet over-use because of stress. (Recent data show a majority of Americans use the internet to find health related information.) The Internet allows children and adults experiencing chronic stress to connect digitally while imposing self-imprisonment. We live in isolation with internet access. What does that mean for our children?

The link to the article:


Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

11 thoughts on “Is Social Media stifling Emotional Intelligence?

  1. I think the phenomenon you describe is exacerbated by the general culture-wide denial of what is really going on in this society: the profound inequities re. class, race, etc are getting worse, not better – and the denial itself is as artificial and toxic as is a virtual world to which both adults and children turn for…escape? I don’t know if it’s escape. Certainly, it’s public expression, or lack thereof has been imposed by white racist power.
    But when I consider new evidence that the male human brain doesn’t fully develop until age 22 (23?), I think it’s a very sobering situation.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog (and for making my latest post one of your favorites!) I really appreciate it.


    1. Hi Claire, I get so few comments I missed yours. There should be a highlight feature for someone in my situation. 🙂

      You are so right about the artificiality of the denial and I love your analogy to the virtual world. I think some people feel that it doesn’t exist if they don’t acknowledge or talk about it , instead they deny the differences.

      The pre-frontal cortex is not fully develop until mid twenties to mid thirties. Just consider that fact then think about our policies around children: zero tolerance and charging children as adults. Now think about how unevenly those polices affect disadvantaged children and children of color. We are becoming a ridiculous society–but I guess I am responding on a not so good day.

      Thank you for stopping by. And you are welcome ! Angela

  2. Thanks, Angela!
    BTW, did you ever get my comment (it was on an education post) asking if you knew of a pediatrician named Mimi Poinsett? It was in relation to where I think you will find an online community.
    I was about ready to tweet her about you, but hesitated to intrude.
    Old Busybody Claire

    1. I did and I thought I responded but I could have done so on your blog…? I looked her up found her tweets and blogs. She is an interesting person.

      I’ll look because I am sure I responded with a lengthy reply. 🙂

  3. The internet maybe is like technology in general – neither good nor bad in itself – it is how people use it and monitor it’s use. Like a microchip can be put into armaments – or it can be put into pacemaker. It can be used inoil rigs or used in wind farms . . .

    Definitely I think elcetronic media can disconnect people emotionally, and worse – and children are especially vulnerable – so we need to guide them ( and one another).

    On the other hand, I believe we can truly share and learn and grow from the use of social media – making positve emotional connections. To me it It is sort of like Pierre Tielhard de Chardin envisioned aand named the ‘noosphere’ – the sphere of consciousness.

    Ass you day, Angela – It is truly a double edged sword – I too get distracted and somtimes procrastinate about the chores etc. (like right now – but is thsi really a distracaction?) . . .

    I find great joy and hope in the creative aspects of blogging. I am also stimulated by the exchange and diversity of other peoples narratives, as I discover so many experiences and journeys, out in the blogosphere and from all around the earth, in very literal way also.

    Is Social Media stifling Emotional Intelligence? Maybe yes – maybe no. And like so much of life, with many shades of gray, eh? Best regards Bruce

    1. Hi Bruce, Thank you for your insighful observations…I agree wholeheartedly. Studies show the social media helps some marginalized kids develop a sense of belonging. But as you say, children need to have a good balance, of virtual and real, to develop healthy social skills.

      Thank you for your comment.


  4. Interesting article. I have noticed that a social media overload has certainly stunted emotional and social intelligence with people. It’s no wonder I haven’t been on Facebook in years. At least I got to be more productive in work and my creative fields anyway. I do think there should be a healthy balance between online life and real life. However, given the sketchy things with major social media platforms with data breaches and censoring “controversial” content, it has certainly gotten worse. There’s one quote from Jeremy Irons of all people where in an interview he said [paraphrased] “Social media is one of the most frightening things ever.” when he mentioned how crazy people can be with those platforms or how they’re set up.

    1. Thank you, Curtis. Social media has changed. Now it’s used more frequently to spread misinformation or recruit for certain ideologies.

      As you said a balance is crucial. Most people join groups that cater to their interest. That’s not bad except when groups spread hate and violence as well as censor and intimidate those with different views.

      The anonymity of social media is similar to how white nationalist groups like the kkk conceal their identity. They have a strong and organized presence on social media. May explain why hate is so prevalent in these times. The groups are well organized.

      1. You’re welcome and I agree. It’s been highly politicized and overblown with hatred.

        Sure. It’s one thing joining a group about something like sports, video games, or music, but these hate groups have been thriving and rarely ever get banned/blocked. So let me get this straight. A woman can type in #SupportBlackBusinesses in a FB status and she goes to FB jail, but some white nationalist groups can wax violence and genocidal actions and never get punished (Jeremy Joseph Christian was part of one group and he MURDERED people in Portland!).

        It’s as if the anonymity and usernames become cybernetic hoods for them. For shame, social media. For shame.

        1. Well said Curtis! That is the reality we face as Black people. It’s a white world and it’s cruel. Lies lies and more lies are at the core of this world.

          1. Thank you, Angela! I’d say the same about your comment, too. I’ve been checking out the works of Neely Fuller Jr. and I just finished the revised edition of his book A Compensatory Counter-Racist Code which really broke down so many things in society that I seriously never even thought about before. He has a great quote about lies and deception being violence. Unlike punching, kicking, or using direct force, deception is an indirect (psychological) form of violence that is just as effective or in some cases more so. It’s no wonder why I hate being confused or lied to (saying nothing about the poem I just wrote on my blog about a lesser topic). Seeing lies as a weapon really made me think about how to combat deception and to tell the truth to cancel this subterfuge.

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