In such an instance, there would be no communication at all were there no computers; but when they are available, they provide the necessary distancing, as it were, to make communication possible. Paradoxical as it may appear, it is this ‘distancing’ that effectively pulls down the barriers between people who would otherwise have remained mutually isolated when it was important for them to hear one another out. So here too, we might say, the computer helps to solve a problem in human communication rather than create one.
Like they say, one can’t teach old dog new tricks. As we grow into adulthood, our egos harden. If we are socially competent by then, well and good; if not, it is unlikely any more that we will grow adept at it. That being that, it would be wrong to denigrate the use of computers even in the event that an adult prefers it to face-to- face contact. Besides, the many well-documented cases of people bonding over the Internet seem to give the lie to the allegedly dehumanising effects of computer interaction.
Where children are concerned, the matter may be somewhat different. Children who spend much more time alone with the computer at the expense of interacting with their family, friends or neighbours, may fall behind in social development.
The modern world is one in which, willy-nilly, a good deal of work may be needed to be done before a computer screen. To my mind, this phenomenon has helped society rather than placed it in a crisis so far as the process of socialization and human interaction is concerned. If there are risks in relation to the computer, they are probably of a different nature, as for instance the possible long-term effects of computer radiation on human health, and the misuse of computer communication by unscrupulous elements in society.