Technology Damaging Social Skills

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Amanda Stewart, Staff Reporter

When was the last time you physically called a friend asking them to hang out? It’s probably been a while. On the contrary, when was the last time you shot them a text? Probably 5 minutes ago. Years ago, to contact a friend you would have to call them and ask their parents to put them on the line. Today, teenagers find it weird and awkward to have these same conversations. Technology has changed the way people interact and has decreased the value of face to face interactions.

Walking around the halls, I pass many people who are looking down at their phones or iPads, texting a friend, playing a game or finishing up some last minute homework. This is very common, increasingly so because we’ve moved all of our homework onto our iPads. But, is this socially or emotionally healthy? I would have to say no. I think there are great perks to technology and it is very helpful, but also very damaging to some aspects of social skills.

Because of looking at a screen 24/7, texting friends and getting wrapped up in a game on our iPads, I think that teenagers are slowly losing their social skills and the knowledge of the importance of face to face interactions. I think this goes for almost all teenagers, myself included. Everyday at lunch I see kids sitting right next to each other but they aren’t even talking, they are Snapchatting or texting, the easier way for communication.

And we all know having to call up an old family member on the phone who talks for hours about themselves isn’t the most fun ever, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Social skills are very important in all aspects of life, they are needed for healthy relationships, schooling and jobs.

Do you think technology is having a negative impact on social skills?

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I’m not by any means saying that teenagers don’t talk  in person to their friends anymore, it just seems as if texting or Snapchatting them is becoming the new norm. And yes, I get it: Snapchat and texting is fun and easier, but when teenagers realize they don’t interact with others as well as they used to, something must be fixed.

But how do we change this in a world where newer and more immersive uses of technology are coming out every single day?

Well, I would suggest to try calling a friend and ask how they are doing, rather than texting them. Don’t spend all of your lunch Snapchatting, talk to the people who are sitting right beside you. And most importantly, don’t walk down the hall pretending you are texting just to avoid conversation with actual people.

Creative Commons photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tyle_r/8425353997/