LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Call me, maybe? A UNLV researcher is asking that question to see how people are staying connected during the pandemic.

While we have so much technology at our disposal, UNLV's research found it doesn't stack up very well against old-fashioned, face-to-face communication.

The study "Connecting During COVID-19' was published in the journal 'Human Communication and Technology."

It found that older technologies like voicecalls and emails were more effective at helping people feel less lonely through the pandemic, more than newer options like video chats, social media and interactive video games.

FOX5 talked to one of the lead researchers and UNLV professor, Natalie Pennington.

She told us social media added stress for most, instead of helping them connect to their friends.

"A lot of people think social media is good for connecting with others, but actually posting on social media didn't help people that much," Pennington said. "So I think it's a good reminder that stressing and talking about the pandemic, that doom-scrolling behavior and also this idea that 'if I write about it I'll feel better' isn't always the case. It will cause people to ruminate on negative emotions about the pandemic which didn't really help them."

She also said they found the people who were using video chat the most were the most stressed out.

Pennington says this is because video chats used to be supplementary to our relationships, but became the only way we could see our coworkers, friends and family.

They found three big factors that contributed to the study: age, relationship status, and living situation.


University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is featured at 4505 S Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV 89154 on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020.

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