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Social media cannot replace social contact


Cell phones and texting are now used as ways to initiate a relationship. They should not be the sole communication components of a healthy relationship.

A lot of chatter has been heard in the media as of late detailing our state of loneliness. You would think that since we are the most connected people that we have ever been (via cell phones) that loneliness would not be an issue. Everyone has a cell phone. Millions of people document their lives on social media. Texting is a way of life, however, is this mode of communication a satisfying way to develop and maintain a relationship? Does social media satisfy that human need to communicate and be social?

Many studies looking at many different forms of communicating have asked these questions. A recent study focused on people living in Great Britain and found that a large portion of them experience loneliness. So, what is loneliness? It is defined as sadness because one has no friends or company, the fact of being without companions; solitariness, the quality of being unfrequented and remote, isolation.

Why do we worry so about people who are alone? For one thing, most loners will admit they are missing something out of their lives; that human interaction be it the way you look at someone or just that touch on the shoulder, the hand or that hug brings so much to the relationship.

Many studies have shown that loneliness affects ones health. Numerous studies have shown that those who have family and friends are able to handle their illnesses better. Married men in particular live longer. Why because there is a partner who has their interest at heart and encourages them to take better care of themselves.

Study after study has shown that people with heart disease live longer when they are connected. People diagnosed with cancer live longer when they are connected. We are indeed social beings and being connected is important to health.

As we try to find that connectivity that we so hunger, some look to the internet for help. While many positive relationships have begun online, one must be careful. One of the problems with online interactions is that you often cannot see or detect the other person’s quirks or habits. With in-person contact, one may gain a better understanding of who you are dealing with. At any rate, care and caution are warranted.

We see people in their attempts to not be alone for the holidays and Valentine’s Day accept people into their lives romantically whom they may not have accepted if not pressured to appear a certain way for the holidays. You are valuable and deserve more.

Spend some quality time with people you know are lonely: relatives, coworkers or neighbors. A short 15 minute visit could do wonders for that person and for you.

We are all humans and we need human contact in different ways and amounts. Know who you are and what your needs are and then find them in a healthy way.

Cell phones and texting are ways to add to a relationship but they should not be the only components used to build a relationship.

New studies have shown that blue glow from that cell phone, computer, tablet or laptops are not so good for your health. They may affect sleep and we all know how important that is.

Dr. Veita Bland is a board certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Email Dr. Bland at