Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster and Head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, has expressed concern that emailing, texting and online social networks are creating shallow friendships and undermining community life.

Nichols told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper that social networking sites lead young people to form "transient relationships" that put them at heightened risk of suicide when they broke down.

"Friendship is not a commodity, friendship is something that is hard work and enduring when it's right," said the Archbishop of Westminster.

"There's a worry that an excessive use, or an almost exclusive use, of text and emails means that as a society we're losing some of the ability to build interpersonal communication that's necessary for living together and building a community."

Dehumanising

The Archbishop thinks that excessive use and over-reliance on electronic forms of communication is both "dehumanising" and leads to a loss of vital social skills.

Users are losing the ability to read the body language of people they are communicating with and start to place more importance on the number of 'friends' they have as opposed to the quality and depth and meaning of the friendships.

"Among young people often a key factor in their committing suicide is the trauma of transient relationships. They throw themselves into a friendship or network of friendships, then it collapses and they're desolate," Nichols said.

Via The Sunday Telegraph