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The disadvantages of online communication

Updated April 17, 2017

The Internet has created a means for people to come closer together. Rather than spending money on phone services, people in different states or even different countries can hop on messenger services, social networking or e-mail to communicate. The Internet allows people to find old friends, classmates, and family members, or meet new people.

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Omits Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication is a key part in communicating effectively. Nonverbal cues can include hand gestures, nodding or even smiling. Nonverbal communication can be helpful when delivering something as simple as a joke. Without facial expressions, hand gestures or even a laugh aloud, the other party may not see the humour.

Is Text-Based

Online communication is primarily text-based -- meaning you type the majority of your conversations. There are some exceptions, such as video chat, but for the most part, forums, social networking and messenger utilise text-based communication. For individuals who are not good at expressing themselves through writing or who are not familiar with the use of a keyboard, online communication can be frustrating. There is no voice tone associated with a text-based communication: a tone in an individual's voice that would normally be present in a live conversation is no longer present. This can lead to miscommunications or misunderstandings about how something was meant to be interpreted.


Online communication can take longer than a live or telephone conversation. This is because the time it takes to type, wait for a response and then type again interferes with the flow of the conversation itself. E-mail is especially time-consuming since an individual has to type his half of the conversation, sent it, and wait for a response. Depending on the time it takes for the recipient to receive, read and type her own response, a person can wait a few hours or even a few days to complete one conversation.

False Identities

Online communication can provide a curtain to a real person's identity. This can be especially common in chat rooms or online dating situations where individuals will portray themselves as someone else in order to gain a person's trust. Online communication does not allow people to see each other or to speak in person; therefore, it is easier for someone to portray himself as someone he is not.


Online communication does not allow users to see one another or speak face-to-face. Though the use of video chat can allow users to speak face-to-face virtually, chat programs and e-mail do not always allow it. An online friendship does not have the same contact as a physical one, such as meeting up in person, contacting over the telephone, and having a conversation, nor does it allow you the physical experience and comfort of having a friend by your side.

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About the Author

Shailynn Krow

Shailynn Krow began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous online and offline publications. Krow holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and an Associate of Science in pastry arts from the International Culinary Institute of America.

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