Our generation was born with a mouse attached to one hand and a phone attached to the other. Between texting, Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media, we are consumed by web and mobile-based technology. It is more typical to send a text message to someone than to have a face-to-face conversation with them. These modern technologies are deteriorating our communication, writing and concentration skills.
Martha Irvine in her piece “Text Messaging: Is Texting Ruining The Art Of Conversation?” in the Huffington Post argues that experts believe our communication skills are diminishing as a result of texting too often. There is a widening gap between “texters” and “talkers,” and there are more young people in the “texting” divide.
“[Communication experts] fear that more of us are losing our ability to have – or at least are avoiding – the traditional face-to-face conversations that are vital in the workplace and personal relationships,” Irvine states.
Many teenagers and young adults find it difficult, sometimes even awkward, to carry on a conversation in-person. More people are also having trouble with even basic communication skills, such as eye contact. Facial expressions and tone of voice are important when speaking with somebody so you can understand their mood and sincerity. Even with emoticons and Emojis, you cannot show emotion in a text message.
Catey Koch states in the article “Is ‘chat’ speak destroying the English language?” from Michigan Live that chatspeak is ruining proper English. “Correct grammar and spelling lose because it is quicker not to worry about it.” University students do not know how to speak professionally anymore. “hey, i wont b in class 2day” is not a proper way to email a professor. One may laugh at the thought of such a ridiculous email, yet many professors, including English professor Dr. Clemens, receive emails similar to this from their students daily. As university students, we are supposed to be learning how to interact professionally with peers and professors. Getting a job will be difficult if one cannot type formally.
Our attention span and concentration abilities are also decreasing as a result of social media websites. How often do you log onto Facebook in the middle of writing a research paper? Checking a notification often and quickly turns into an hour of aimlessly surfing the web.
“The distraction is harmful to productivity, and is not going to do society any good in the long term,” argues David Parrack in the article “The Negative Impact Of Social Networking Sites On Society” on the website Make Use Of.
As a whole, we are too dependent on technology to just quit. We are not about to write off our smartphones or deactivate our online accounts. So what can we do? We hear it again and again with eating, but it works with the Internet too: Moderation is key. Rather than logging onto Facebook any time you are bored, force yourself into only checking it a few times a day.
In the film, Easy A, English teacher Mr. Griffith states, “I don’t know what your generation’s fascination is with documenting your every thought.”
It is true; we do not have to tweet about every little thing every single minute of every single day. In all honesty, none of your followers really care about what you think about the weather or how many days are left until your birthday.
When you are out with friends, put the phone away. Texting other people distracts you from enjoying face-to-face time with your friends. If you are at a restaurant, have all of your friends place their phones in the middle of the table. Everyone will talk to each other rather than focus on their cell phones.
“I like to make a game of it,” says college freshman Cassandra Chalfant, “Whoever checks their phone first has to pay the tip.”
In 1946, Albert Einstein stated, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”
If it was “appallingly obvious” then, it is much more so now. Instead of letting technology consume so much of our daily lives, we ought to focus on controlling it ourselves. Social media sites do not make you any more social if you are cooped up in your dorm all day.
By Katryna Poniatowski