It’s no secret that Generation-Y has an addiction to technology, especially texting. Everywhere you go, you will see someone on their cell phone, most likely absorbed in a conversation they are having through text messaging.
The problem with this is that this addiction to the written word seems to be dwarfing kids’ abilities to have face-to-face interaction with people. Today’s youth is growing up with texting, unlike older generations that grew up with just house phones or having to actually ride a bicycle or drive to their friends’ houses in order to see or talk to them.
Our parents had to have face-to-face or phone conversations if they wanted to know anything that was happening with their friends. Now we have the comfort of checking our smart phones to stay in the loop without seeing anyone.
The first time I noticed this problem was before I left home for my freshman year of college. My university organized a send-off party for the students and their parents from my area to meet and get to know each other before we left for school. I have always been talkative and outgoing, and I have been blessed with the same trait as my mother in that I can usually strike up a conversation with a stranger.
At the party, I started talking to a guy, John, and it started off with the usual pleasantries and exchange of information like name, hometown, major, and what dorm we were assigned. But even the simple exchange of that information felt like I was pulling teeth and eventually I resorted to speaking with his mother in order to get to know him. How ridiculous is that? No college student should have his or her parents speak for him or her.
I figured that John was just shy and that if I talked to other students it would be better. I was wrong. For every good conversation I had where the other person was able to hold his or her own against my ability to talk someone’s ear off, there were two others where I actually started talking about the weather in order to avoid complete silence.
No matter where you are, you will see people texting, and many of them rely on texting as a means of communication and would not know how to have a conversation in person. The glory of texting for a lot of people is that they can take their time with answering the other person and really think through what they are going to say.
You can’t wait ten minutes to answer a person’s question when you are face-to-face without looking stupid. With texting however, you can make the excuse that you were in the middle of an activity that could not be interrupted by texting.
Being able to talk to someone face-to-face is an important life skill. How are you supposed to charm a boss in an interview if you’re not used to conversing in real situations? No employer will hire someone that can’t hold a conversation because they know that you’ll have a hard time interacting with clients and other employees.
What about presentations and public speaking? If you have trouble speaking to someone one-on-one, how do you expect yourself to give a presentation to a class or conference room of coworkers? Being a good public speaker is an impressive quality that if attained will make you highly sought after, but first you have to get over the hurdle of maintaining a personal conversation with one person.
If working is no concern for you or you know that your job will never require you to give a presentation, what about making friends? People tend to not trust someone that doesn’t talk much in a conversation because it seems as if they are not talking in order to hide something. If you don’t offer anything to the conversation, then you can be perceived as lacking a personality, and let’s be honest, who really wants a friend with no personality?
Texting also takes up time. The time that you use in order to text a friend could be used to do something much more productive, like actual work. Sure, its possible to multitask, but you’re just taking important focus from details that could be overlooked if you try to text while working.
Personally, if I need to talk to someone I would rather pick up the phone and call them and get the conversation over with. A texting conversation could last all day, it’s worse than playing phone tag. For those of you that don’t know what phone tag is because you only text, ask your parents.
Obviously, there are plenty of people that can still be on their phones 24/7 and hold a perfectly pleasant conversation. Those people used to be the majority of the population, but as time goes on they are going to become the minority. Let’s just nip it in the bud now and stop texting, please.
Samantha | Elite.