Is technology making us disconnected? Findings from a study conducted by YouGov hint that — for millennials — the answer is yes. The research found that nearly one in five US teens prefers to video chat their friends rather than spend time with them face-to-face.
YouGov's study polled 253 millennials aged 13-to-17. Approximately 19% of respondents stated that they'd rather video chat their friends than see them in person. Among these participants, females expressed this sentiment more often than males. These findings — although surprising — are in line with previous research on the topic. A study conducted by CivicScience revealed that over 75% of millennials admit to being addicted to their digital devices. Based on both of these studies, it appears that millennials utilize technology — like video-chatting apps — frequently. As video-messaging platforms like FaceTime and Skype expand, it's likely that video-chatting will become an even more integral part of millennials' lives.
This year, video chatting platform Skype has undergone a major facelift to increase its user-base by rolling out several new features. Users can now engage with chat bots to get information on everything from plane tickets to health facts, and they can also react to messages sent over Skype chat with smileys, hearts, or a thumbs up. Not limited to Skype chat, this last feature — previously added to Facebook Messenger — is also available during calls.
Another new addition to Skype is in-call photo-sharing. Users can post photos for everyone participating in the call to view in real time.
Skype has also unveiled the Highlights feature. Similar to Snapchat Stories, you can now share photos and videos with your Skype contacts. Add the selected content to the Highlights section on Skype, and eventually, all of your highlights will combine into one reel.
As Skype — and competitors like FaceTime — continue to change to meet the needs of its users, there will surely be continued growth and popularity of video-chatting. YouGov's study provides a look into what technology young people are using frequently and how that affects their lives, but — beyond that — this surprising research begs the question: do social media platforms supplement or detract from socialization? While there's no conclusive answer as to whether these results prove technology is making us more distant, it's certainly true that technology is changing how we communicate.