NEW research reveals that almost three in five Aussies (57%) are calling their family and friends less frequently since the rise of social media.
According to the survey of more than 1,000 Australians, nearly four out of five (79%) believe social media and technology are causing us to lose the art of conversation.
Some 63% say it's easier to text a friend or a loved one instead of calling for a chat.
Three out of five Aussies (60%) wish they received more phone calls from their nearest and dearest, the research from Virgin Mobile says.
In fact, a whopping four out of five Aussie social media users (82%) admit that speaking on the phone actually makes them feel more connected to people than social media interaction.
As part of its ongoing commitment to making mobile better, Virgin Mobile has joined forces with R U OK? to encourage Aussies to have more conversations that count.
R U OK? aims to prevent suicide by encouraging people to have regular, meaningful conversations throughout the year to help anyone who might be struggling with life.
The telco will be supporting the cause by giving its customers free calls to their friends and family within Oz on 11 September (R U OK?Day), encouraging people to pick up the phone and ask someone if they're 'ok'.
David Scribner, Head of Virgin Mobile Australia, says, "We're dedicated to continuing to make mobile better and are proud to be partnering with R U OK? to champion the power and importance of conversation - not just on R U OK?Day, but every day."
"Nine out of ten Aussies surveyed said they feel genuinely cared about when they get a phone call from a loved one.
"We have all been guilty of sending a quick text or Facebook message instead of picking up the phone so it's a timely reminder that a call could really make a difference to that person's day."
Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group, has also backed the campaign and recorded a video message for all Australians about the importance of conversation, encouraging them to reach out to loved ones this R U OK?Day.
"Peter Gabriel and I asked Madiba to lead a global version of this, an independent group of leaders who work together for peace and human rights. Out of these conversations, The Elders was born and the rest is history."
Commenting on her most memorable conversation, R U OK? Ambassador, Allison Langdon says, "A few weeks ago my little sister called me with news her multi-organ transplant had come through and she was on her way to the hospital.
"I was on the other side of the world - feeling helpless. Just getting to tell her that I loved her as she was being wheeled into surgery was one of the most emotional moments of my life. I was a million miles away but I felt like I was right there with her."
Other interesting findings from the research include:
- Threequarters (75%) of Australian social media users believe the majority of their friends online still don't truly know what's happening in their lives;
- Women are more likely than men to agree that texting someone is easier than calling them (68% v 58%);
- Two out of five (45%) Aussies say they don't call their friends and family as often because they feel like they already know what they are up to through socialmedia;
- Two out of five Aussies (43%) prefer emailing, texting and using social media to communicate than speaking on the phone;
- More than a quarter (28%) of Aussies feel the only free time they have to chat with friends during the week is on the daily commute;
The average Aussie received only four phone calls on their last birthday, in comparison to 11 social media messages.