The Internet Impact on Users’ Social Skills


Beata Krawczyk – Brylka (Poland)


Social skills can be defined as the different competencies deal with person’s ability of coping with different types of social situations, following with our social experiences. Application of Internet in interpersonal communication process adds the new important elements of these experiences and it probably changes users’ social skills. Understanding of existing relationships allows to create new quality of virtual classes or organisations. The wide knowledge about nowadays people’s social behaviour is necessary to make the distance learning students and teachers friendly, to use human resources systems effectively or to support electronic commerce satisfactorily for producers and clients.

To explore the subject several experiments were prepared. An amount of students of different faculties are going to be asked about their social skills and tested in some negotiation situations in order to check their subjective and the objective assessment of their interpersonal skills. The main factors precisely controlled in these experiments will be: the gender, students’ involvement in Internet activities and its reasons, students’ social and communication competencies in both: real and Internet environment.

The experiment consists of following parts:

  1. A questionnaire asking students about amount of time they spend surfing the Internet, their reasons of using Internet, the most important Internet services they most often use.
  2. Two psychological questionnaires exploring students’ social skills:
    • Questionnaire of Social Skills (by Anna Matczak) – testing social skills in three essential aspects here. The first one is Intimacy meaning the ability to develop close interpersonal relationship, to share private information and feelings with another person. The second one is Self-Presentation which is connected to your behaviour in formal situations and being an object of assessment of many people. The third factor is Assertiveness dealing with competence for reaching your own aims by influencing on other persons. All of them relate to different roles each person play in her or his life. The last two ones are especially important for achieving personal job successes.
    • The Communication Activity Scale (by Zbigniew Necki) -testing many communication habits (like reach non-verbal behaviours, telling the truth, refusing, breaking in on conversation or intently hearing) that determinate the effects of all interpersonal based situations.
  3. A questionnaire showing students’ opinions about importance of some factors involved in the psychological tests cited above in some situations in real life and during Internet using.
  4. A set of some negotiation situations where tested students (in pairs or groups of three) will play roles to reach the well-defined result. Some pairs will negotiate face to face and some will fill the task on Internet (using a chat program). Their communication skills will be assessed for verification of existing relationship.

The experiment is aimed at answering three important questions:

  1. Do Internet users note the differences between their social behaviour in real life and on Internet ?
  2. What is the direction of changes in social competencies owing to frequent use of the Internet?
  3. What are the most important interpersonal factors while negotiating face to face and via Internet? What is essential for high quality of both kinds of meeting?
  4. What are the most important factors for modern education, business and private interpersonal relationship?

Answering these questions seems important because it can explain the new quality of negotiations that are basic for new age organisations. The paper will illustrate quantitative details of the experiment using tables and diagrams.