How to Work and Study Online Productively: What Difficulties Arise from Online Communications

Remote work, study, and communication are still realities of modern life. As long as restrictive measures continue to be upheld, students and teachers will interact only through the Internet. The Head of the Department of General Psychology, Psychodiagnostics, and Counselling of the SUSU School of Medical Biology, Candidate of Sciences (Psychology), Svetlana Morozova told us about what difficulties this can lead to, and why some students and teachers find it easier to get used to a new form of communication.

How does communication differ in real life versus online?

“When communicating online, you create an image of the individual before you even get to know them thanks to the ability to share any information with the public. In real life, this is usually not possible. But, you get their scent or make physical contact—touch their shoulder, shake their hand. So it’s not possible to totally replace real life conversations with virtual communications.”

Can long-term use of online communications change your relationship to communication in real life?

“Online communications are unique in that the users can easily make contact with many different people they did not know before, and change over to many different forms of communication. The real world doesn’t offer this opportunity. Studies have proved that with prolonged virtual communication, altered states of consciousness can arise: mystical experiences, anxiety, worry. If you communicate in fictional alternative worlds, then there is a feeling and sensation of dreamlike or fantastic ease of movement, control of the objective world. According to researchers in Russia and abroad, constant communication on the Internet can lead to the formation of a disastrous strategy of “avoiding reality” among users, the desire to spend more and more time in a virtual world in which often there are no real problems or difficulties.”

Are there any positive effects from virtual communications?

“Online communications can lead to negative impacts when an individual has an obsessive, compulsive desire to be online, even if they don’t need to be. That being said, communication is a favourable environment for the manifestation of personality traits and the potential of individuals which would otherwise be unavailable in real-life communication.”

Photo: Svetlana Morozova, Candidate of Sciences (Psychology), Head of the Department of General Psychology, Psychodiagnostics, and Counselling.

So, what is the easier form of communication for individuals, psychologically? In person or through other forms of communication, like on the phone or computer?

“In this matter, everything depends on the specific person. If a person is active on social networks and does not see any issues in such communication, then it will be comfortable for him or her to communicate remotely. Otherwise, real communication will be perceived as more effective.

Recently, in the Department of General Psychology, Psychodiagnostics, and Counselling, students have defended several final projects dedicated to the study of individuals on social networks. Specifically I would mention a project entitled Value and Demand Sphere of Young People with Various Levels of Internet Activity.”

What results did the researchers receive?

“According to the data received, young people with high Internet activity value good and loyal friends, love money, and prefer to buy good things. Friends are valuable to them; this category strives for beauty and prefers to achieve everything honestly. It is important for people in this category to ensure stability and security, to find an interesting job. These young people prefer to search for information on the Internet and read reviews.

At the same time, young people with low Internet activity need interpersonal interaction, trying to find, first of all, good interlocutors. They achieve their goals through patience and self-control. Representatives of this category choose jobs that require action in real life. Their main values are self-fulfilment and health. These young people do not strive for personal comfort, but for the happiness of the social environment, because only in this case they themselves will feel comfortable.”

How do psychologists feel about the increasing movement towards online communication?

“As a specific sphere for self-presentation and self-assertion of one’s individuality, the Internet can be considered as a space for self-actualization of the personality. The Internet is a source of satisfying such needs as social identity, the desire for publicity, self-presentation, trust in communication partners, avoiding loneliness, and communication. In order for these satisfied needs to contribute to the development of one’s personality, rather than addictive behaviour (the behaviour expressed in the desire to leave reality by changing your mental state), people must use virtual opportunities rationally. The virtual world should complement, not compensate for, real life.

So, the goal of psychologists is to reduce this need for publicity and self-presentation by preserving and developing social identity with the real world. If the internet can inspire confidence in a user, then it will become a helpful tool for people, promoting personal development, and not an addictive form of avoiding reality.”

Daria Tsymbaliuk, photos:; library of S.V. Morozova
Contact person: 
Daria Tsymbaliuk, phone: 272-30-11
You are reporting a typo in the following text:
Simply click the "Send typo report" button to complete the report. You can also include a comment.