The effectiveness of WhatsApp to congratulate Christmas and birthdays
We complain that young people spend the day stuck to their mobile phones but the truth is that, in recent years, adults have also entered this digital circle, in particular after the appearance of Whatsapp. Like all technology, it has advantages and disadvantages for the proper functioning of intrafamilial relationships.
Do you congratulate Christmas and birthdays on WhatsApp?
Thanks to the reminders of our mobile we can not miss one, but some people on their birthday are saddened to receive messages only and not the classic calls of their loved ones.
Currently, 500 million people in the world use WhatsApp every day. More than a fad, new technologies have revolutionized with apparent ease our way of communicating, but what are the advantages and disadvantages?
To analyze the advantages and disadvantages of WhatsApp, let's not lose sight of the fact that the important thing is not to make an appraisal of the application itself, but to stop to think about the how and at the expense of what we are using it.
The important thing is to know how to take advantage of all the facilities that this new application offers us, to enjoy being in contact with ours wherever they are, but without forgetting that it is just another form of communication, not the only one. We do not allow him to replace others and we do not lose sight of his limitations or demand what is not his.
These are the main advantages of WhatsApp
Groups of WhatsApp
One of the main advantages of this application is to communicate to several people at the same time. The WhatsApp groups have come to replace the email chains and there are many types.
Family groups keep everyone in touch, help organize the family day to day and share moments and experiences, which can have a positive impact on the family environment. If we talk about families in which one of its members lives outside, these advantages multiply.
By using a language and a channel that is not alien to young people, it has improved contact between parents and children, who have adapted to the conversation systems of the youngest.
In a similar way, many groups of friends, co-workers, school, faculty, mothers of schoolmates of their children, those who play paddle tennis, etc., have created their own groups on WhatsApp. In them events are organized and important events are shared, in a simple way and that also avoids the misunderstandings derived from the transmission of information from one to another, since in this case everyone receives it at the same time. Mind you, be careful with writing in the right group!
WhatsApp in the distance
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of WhatsApp is the ease with which it keeps people in contact despite the distance. It is a key way to communicate in a society in continuous movement, in which leaving your city, or your country, to study or work is more a rule than an exception. The use of social networks does not need time matches and, in most cases, with Wi-Fi or flat rates, communication is free.
This application is probably the fastest and most economical of the forms of communication we have today. More economical than the phone and probably more immediate than email in some contexts. In addition, the user always has the phone on top and the interface is simple and convenient.
The disadvantages of misusing WhatsApp
Written communication is much poorer than oral
The main difference between oral and written communication is that the latter loses all the non-verbal aspects that accompany the language. Oral communication is very rich in nuances: the tone of voice, the speed of language, body posture, facial expression, hand gestures ... They are a series of details that can radically change the meaning of a speech.
Many times what we say is not so important, but how we say it. Think of a simple word like "thank you." We can say it in different ways and express different feelings with it. All those connotations, which go beyond the verbal, are lost in WhatsApp. The emoticons and other add-ons of the application can correct these differences on some occasion, but they can hardly cause the same effect as the expression.
On the other hand, we can fall into the error of trying on WhatsApp certain sensitive or important issues to avoid the difficulty of talking about them in person. Attending, as we saw, to the importance of the non-verbal in communication, it is worthwhile to be brave when it comes to dealing with topics that are delicate to us so as not to lose the richness of verbal communication.
Misinterpretations and other problems with WhatsApp
One of the problems of WhatsApp comes, therefore, that a written message, separate from the non-verbal, has many possible interpretations and the interpretation given by the person receiving the message can be very different from that of the issuer. Attributing to the other an intention different from the one that had made communication difficult and in the long run hinders relationships.
The quick communication that it offers us can make us get caught in the trap of immediacy. It seems that when we send a message we are waiting for an answer at that moment, and the delay makes us uneasy, we continuously look at the phone, the last hour of connection. In the opposite direction, we ourselves may have difficulties in postponing the response when we receive a message, which explains why we answer in the middle of a dinner with friends, a work meeting or the doctor's consultation.
Certain aspects of the application such as showing the last connection time or double check and now the double blue check can limit our freedom not to answer at that precise moment and can be used as an argument to demand an immediate response. It is as if we had to be available at all times. Nothing is further from reality. It is enough to do an experiment with ourselves: how much time can we pass between the reception of a message and its response?
Addicted to WhatsApp
Using WhatsApp is an apparently positive behavior that can become problematic if the frequency and intensity with which it develops interfere with daily life. We would be talking then of an addiction to WhatsApp. Without needing to be alarmed, let's just remember the importance of making responsible use of new technologies.
Carmen Laspra Solís.Unit of Diagnosis and Family Therapy (UDITEF), University of Navarra