Jan 2019

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The Dwindling Communications Skills of Society

It’s a no-brainer that innovation in technology has improved our day to day lives. This is especially true with communication between one another. We have come a long way from the telegraph of the 1800's, which took weeks to send and receive a message. To now, with our beloved smartphones, we are able to send messages instantaneously. Instant messaging allows the world to feel smaller and gives the chance to stay connected at all times. But are we really connected? One may argue that our communication skills have begun to suffer as our screen time increases.

Social media has filled the shoes of face-to-face social interaction for many youths. It is not odd to see a couple out to eat with both parties on their cellphones. It is normal and acceptable to use your phone in the presence of others. Without a phone, many people feel isolated or awkward in social settings. This is a dichotomy because in a social setting you should be present and social. Technology has made it possible to have a relationship without ever meeting the other person. The communication skills needed to form a connection in person do not exist on the internet. In person, non-verbal communication skills like listening, eye contact, body language and confidence are all important. Online none of these key skills are relevant. It makes sense why many millennial's and generation Z’s struggle with their communication skills. Mastering the art of online etiquette doesn’t help a bit with in-person social interactions. Many people carry out friendships and romantic relationships online without ever needing any of these vital communication skills. Communication skills have become an afterthought only being important for interactions like interviews and presentations. Being connected with friends and family through social media, text, and video-chat has replaced real hugs, eye contact and in-person conversation. Some have begun to prefer non-verbal communication through technology, like a text rather than a phone call.   

Beyond communicating with one another online, technology brings forth more isolating activities like video games, streaming services, and web surfing. Spending many of our waking hours looking at a screen leaves little time to interact with others in person. It becomes a safe place to be home, comfortable and communicate with others at your own will via a device. It can be advantageous to have strong communication skills in a society where they are dwindling. So, although it’s a no-brainer that technology has improved our lives, it is safe to say it has negatively affected other parts.  

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