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Social Media destroying Social Skills

Haley Jensen, Staff Writer

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Teenagers text at the dinner table. They tweet walking to class. They check Facebook on dates. Many of them have become so dependent on technology that they struggle interacting with people in real life. Their only means of communication are through texting and emails.  Social skills are lacking in a majority of high school students and social media seems to be impacting this.

A study by Stanford University showed that applications like Facebook, Twiter,  and FaceTime are not a replacement for real human interaction. 3,461 American girls aged 8 to 12 were surveyed for the study. It was concluded that young girls who spend an excessive amount of time using these devices will struggle to develop normal social skills.

Bingham High School psychologist Clinton Thurgood said, “I do feel that technology is having a great impact on teen’s social abilities. There is a lot less face to face interaction than in past generations and teens choose to spend time with computers and video games instead of out with friends.”

Teens are becoming uncomfortable with in-person confrontation of any kind, even talking over the phone. It is less threatening to text someone or send them a Facebook message. Actually hearing someone’s voice and making eye contact is starting to become a thing of the past. If someone is shy or awkward, they will probably have a hard time talking to someone in person. They can have the same conversation via text message or email. It is easier for them to maintain a flow of conversation when they have time to think of a response.

“When texting you can be yourself, but in person it is easy to close up and that makes it hard to express what you feel,” said senior Tiana Warner

Texting also lacks personality and tone. Saying “whatever” in a text could mean, “anything you want” or “stop talking to me.”  Today’s teenagers are losing valuable opportunities to practice in-person interactions that are needed to develop good social skills. Skills like being comfortable around new people or dealing with customers at a job are needed in everyday life. Many teens do not understand how to use body language to portray what they mean. Body language and facial expressions add an emotional element to conversations that are missing from social media. Meaningful relationships are never going to develop over a computer screen.

When talking to someone over the Internet or through a text, people often get courage to fire off statements they would not dare say to someone away from the screen.

Senior T.j. Wenner said, “It’s a lot easier to say something over the phone than it is to say it face to face.”

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1 Comment

One Response to “Social Media destroying Social Skills”

  1. WilliamJ on February 9th, 2013 3:44 am

    I am a 35 year old who never had social skills, before everyone was online throwing around Likes and LoLs. I was backward, a nerd when it was considered a bad thing and not a fashion statement, and socially awkward down to my every neurological wiring.

    As much as I hate to admit it, that carries over into the current online social media world just as it did in reality, in my experience. From where I stand, I could peruse all of the social media I could ingest, 5 hours a day, and still sink like a stone as far as making or maintaining friendships by that medium. In contrast, all the ones I’ve known who did well socializing in the real world, are the ones who seem to be the most affluent social networkers.

    The interesting thing is, before all of those people got “connected” and online, they’d thumb their noses at nerds like me and those who occupied and chatted in rooms and message boards in the 90s, before it became socially acceptable to “talk to people on the internet”. It was considered downright lowly and pathetic.

    Back then, I had no problem finding like minds to communicate with online. Now that everyone and their grandma’s dog (literally) is wired up, it’s worse than my worst year of high school online, and better in the real world for me, socially. (Better by no means being “good'” or successful, just less painful).

    Of course back then, complete sentences and even paragraphs were used even in daily convo, not tweets n lols. It was a completely different crowd, and everyone had their own voice, as opposed to parakeeting where you can’t tell one person from the next. It was also the worst idea in the world to share your full name in public. Now not doing so breeds contempt and suspicion, which is only natural, in a world where comprehension and context is devolved and destroyed.

    Just thought I’d put my own perspective on this out there.

    William

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Social Media destroying Social Skills