Are Smartphones Enhancing or Displacing Face-to-Face Communication With Close Ties? A Panel Study Among Adults
Previous research has revealed inconsistent findings regarding enhancement or displacement of face-to-face (FtF) communication due to social media and smartphone use. We argue that the occurrence of enhancement or displacement effects is contingent on the specific type of smartphone use. Specifically, we tested how adults’ communicative and noncommunicative smartphone uses influence the quantity of FtF communication and quality of relationships with family and friends. Results of a two-wave panel survey (NTime2 = 461) revealed a positive influence of communicative smartphone use on quantity of FtF communication with family and friends, supporting the enhancement hypothesis. Quality of relationships with close ties, however, was not influenced by communicative smartphone use. In line with the displacement hypothesis, we found a negative influence of noncommunicative smartphone use on quantity of FtF communication with close ties, but not on quality of relationships with family and friends.