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Communication in the Digital Age

This article explains to the youth how to avoid three barriers to online communication: miscommunication, misinterpretation, and conflicts.

The Internet and social media have made communicating with friends, family and many others easier and quicker. Online communication has created new ways to interact. It also allowed for good communication without difficulty, opening a world of friendship and interaction no previous generation has had. But still with all of this online communication still has its problems.

In life, you will communicate with all sorts of people from different cultures so you which may result in having many have friendships online. Sometimes, you will face barriers to communication, which may make developing and maintaining these friendships more difficult. These barriers include misinterpretation, conflict, and miscommunication and all will make online relationships more difficult. These things will be frustrating, but they can also be overcome. 


The goal is to deal, manage and resolve these conflicts and it is possible is it possible with effort and thought. 


When communicating online, you are unable to use certain tools which make face-to-face communication more straightforward. Online, you can’t use body language and the tone of your voice to appear reasonable and show that you mean well. Therefore, you need to begin and maintain friendships in other ways, including being careful to avoid miscommunication.  

Miscommunication can happen when someone says or posts something that is difficult to understand or gives an impression they did not mean which makes communication difficult and hard to understand.  You can solve this problem by stopping and thinking about what it is you want to say, and whether what you are going to send will effectively communicate it.  

Moreover, online communication is often fast and sometimes filled with symbols, or “memes,” that many people may not understand, which increases the chances of miscommunication.  You can solve this problem by thinking before you send or say something to someone that you think he does not about these symbols or "memes". Also, If the people you are trying to communicate might not understand the idea you want to send them, it might be better to send them something else.



Misinterpretation is closely related to miscommunication. Miscommunication is largely about what you say and do, but misinterpretation is about how you view what others say and share. 

If you rush to interpret what others say, you will get their meaning or intention wrong. This is a possible barrier to maintaining friendships and interacting with others. The solution is to be careful when interpreting what others say and do online. You should try to understand what they probably meant to say, as well as what they wrote or shared online.

If you have been annoyed, or upset by something said or done by someone else online, it is important to understand that this could be an example of misinterpretation and your emotional reaction to something they say may not be fair.  Before you respond in the same way or develop a bad impression of someone else, reconsider whether they truly meant what you thought they did



Online, as in real life, there is likely to be conflict. People may disagree and argue when online. Disagreement is often healthy and can be good. But when disagreements arise through miscommunication, things become unpleasant or bitter, which may break friendships and spread of negative feelings.

Conflict is a barrier when it prevents normal, healthy interaction. It comes when people allow healthy disagreement to become dislike, and fail to move on with their relationship. When online, miscommunication and misinterpretation may lead to conflict and spoil friendships easily. It can create negative emotions, which stops people from being able to communicate well together and make any interaction fraught or difficult to continue

In part, avoiding miscommunication helps to avert conflict resulting from what you say and do, and avoiding misinterpretation helps to stop needless conflict arising from what others may have said. 

However, people will still disagree online, and it is important to stop disagreement from getting in the way of friendships. When you disagree with someone else, it is important to be respectful and calm. If you respect those you talk to online, you are less likely to miscommunicate, and they are less likely to misinterpret what you say. Therefore, you will be able to understand each other and avoid conflict.  Discussion and conversation online are not just useful – they’re vital to forming relationships.  


It’s good to avoid common problems and conflicts when online. But more importantly, it is important that you communicate with respect, and accepting different views and making the best use of the tools and opportunities enabled by online communication.

Last edited
Reading time
4 minutes

Call to Action

Based on conflicts you have faced previously online and based on what you learned from this article, reflect on what could have been done better.

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