Is Technology Making Everyone Shy?

from the tell-that-to-the-anonymous-cowards-and-the-trolls dept

We’ve seen technology blamed for all sorts of things over the years, but this may be the first time we’ve seen the rise of gadgets blamed for a “shyness epidemic” (via The Raw Feed). Apparently, the number of “shy” people out there is increasing — though, the article is quite short on details. It only says that 40% of people used to report being shy, and these days 50% do. However, it doesn’t say when that change happened or look into whether or not there’s any sort of self-reporting bias for this data. Instead, it appears that folks just want to blame technology, saying that the lack of face-to-face or voice communication means that people are somehow losing the ability to be comfortable in those types of interactions. It would be nice to see this backed up with a little more than just the fact that more people self-report being shy — though, it’s certainly possible that these gadgets do put up a shield that prevents people from getting over shyness. It would just be nice to see some additional research that looks at the actual impact, rather than just jumping to the conclusion.

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Comments on “Is Technology Making Everyone Shy?”

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Lisa Westveld (profile) says:

I think it's the other way around...

I think people are less shy nowadays because they can share their feelings more easily without looking someone else in the face. As I understood it, topics like sex were barely part of your daily discussions about 30 years ago. Nowadays people talk about nothing else, apparently, on the Internet. 🙂
I think we’re just more interested in having anonymous talks with strangers. We meet many more people today than ever before. And the fun thing is that when you do meet in real life, your friend will have had a chance to know everything about you before they meet with you. They know all about your fantasies and you know all about theirs.

LoneWolf367 (user link) says:

The internet is a mask to hide behind

I know I use it as one. I am shy and have trouble conversing with people I don’t know. And even subjects I’m not comfortable with I won’t and havn’t shared with my closest friends. However, all is fair game online. It’s an outlet without the need to actually face anyone or potentially face consequences. I think that the internet does make people a little bit “socially retarded” when used to a large extent and the need to actually connect to real people fades away.

Mike says:

Technology can make you speechless

Wrong! All this Technology is making people very isolated when in public. People rather text somebody while queuing in line then talk to the person next to them. They become oblivious to any change in their surroundings because all they are caring about is their own private conversation.
As to the previous comment about being more open online, yes I agree but when it comes to face to face cowardice is apparent. If you have a problem with somebody tell them to their face, don’t go home and blog about it, that was a definition of a Nerd.

MrShy says:

Define Shy

First of all, one has to define shyness.

Shyness in regards to online activity is not the same as shyness in regards to offline activity.

Of course most people are less shy when participating in online activities. This is due to the predisposed myth that what is done online, behind a computer screen-name, is done anonymously (wrongfully predisposed, I might add). People think they are anonymous online…which just isn’t true. But that equates to more openness when communicating online.

People are not becoming more shy offline, they are becoming less capable of communicating without a machine and a predisposed hidden identity.

Where people are being open online, they are now being closed offline.

People are forgetting, or never learning, how to communicate, or how to communicate effectively, without the use of a machine.

It’s a sad existence, actually.

Take text messaging, for example, what a phenonemum…people texting when they could be talking face to face or on the phone.

MrShy 😉

Chronno S. Trigger says:

I'm Shy

I’d like to say that I’m shy around new people. not because of technology or the predisposed anonymity, but because of all the crap I hear about. Someone gets sued for sexual harassment for walking up to a person and said “You look pretty” or someone tells a joke that turns out to be offensive to someone, despite the intent. Person A pokes fun at Person B and Person B drives 1000 miles to burn down person A’s home.

So I’d think that it’s not because people are losing communication skills, it’s just that this country is just too damn PC. Or at least I’d like to think that.

The Man says:


There is truth in stereotypes. The shyness is not a result of technology, it is just that shy geeky people prefer to communicate that way. Have you noticed that good looking, well adjusted people you know don’t use myspace or chat? I have never chatted, think it is dumb. Myspace is a waste of time. Get out of the basement, get some excersise to lose a little weight and live a real life. Technology is for work. If you use technology for recreation (video games, downloading movies / music, dating, chating) you are a loser.

Buzz says:

Re: Geeks

On the contrary… I participate in video game competitions. As a result, I have done far more traveling around America and meeting new people than the rest of my family. How am I a loser? There is nothing wrong with using technology for entertainment (and I find it is the best kind because it allows me to venture into other worlds).

Though, I do agree that chatting and MySpace are huge wastes of time.

The Man says:

Re: Re: Geeks

Competing in contests indicates some sort of prize, usually monitary. This makes your video game play, however unusual, work. Anytype of activity performed where money can be obtained is not a waste of time and does not qualify your for loser status. Bull riders, golfers, etc all perform activities in the same way to make their money. Sitting in a basement playing xxx (Pac Man is all that came to mind, I do not know any game names) without any chance at reciving money from doing so makes one a loser.

name says:

Re: Geeks

i know a lot of people who use myspace to get laid (with people they know offline). so ur claim is meaningless and ur basically just an egotistical idiot.

i think technology doesnt help or impede shyness. we have been social beings for a lot longer than modern technology has been around so i doubt that its going to completely rewrite our genetic predispositions.

DB says:


“Anytype of activity performed where money can be obtained is not a waste of time”

I would guess you are a prostitute, but since you claim you are “The Man”, you must be a gigolo.

Either way, you are clearly a waste of time. Even more than MySpace or chatting.

From what I’ve seen, there are many tech venues that have drawn out people who would otherwise have not come out of their shells. There are benefits and drawbacks to just about everything; it usually comes down to the aspects on which people choose focus.

marktribbia (user link) says:

The New Shyness

The Internet is enabling people who would be intimidated from ever interacting with others in the past, a means to do so, albeit in a less than conventional manner.
Conversely, the Internet is allowing other, more outgoing types, the ability and option to ‘cocoon’ and stay a bit more private than in the past, as far as conveniences available in all consumer areas.
And finally on the topic of privacy, the Internet and technology in general continues to erode at personal privacy. It’s hard to call anyone using Myspace, Facebook or any other networking site shy, when many members so willingly post their personal details. If anything, the Internet is dynamically redefining shyness in ways not fully comprehended.

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