Last week, I reprinted an article I wrote a while back on the Influence of Texting because technology has long been eating away at our effective communication skills. Technology is a wonderful thing in moderation or as a tool, but not only has it been eroding our face-to-face communication skills, it has also been replacing our real life relationships!
How many times have you seen someone on their phone while driving, shopping, or even at a party? Ignoring real people while playing games or texting on a phone has become such a *thing* that I recently saw a photograph on Facebook of a sign on a day care center. It told parents to get off their phone and pay attention to their kids when picking them up because the kids were feeling ignored while trying to show mommy or daddy a picture they made or get a hug after a day away. Kuddos for educating the parents!
Here are just a few of the situations where smart phone obsession has been slowly replacing human interaction:
1. Restaurants and family dinners. Meals are often interrupted (and sometimes entirely taken over) by table members texting others not in attendance, emailing for work, paying attention to weather ap alerts, checking social media, or playing games. Instead of enjoying each other's company, catching up, and spending quality time, we are a nation attached to our phones by an invisible data cord. We can't wait two hours to find out what's hot on Facebook or how Angry Birds are?
Eat, drink, and TALK TO EACH OTHER, people! This is real life. Facebook may survive the next millennia, but Grandpa Joe won't always be around to tell us what things were like back in 1940!
2. Parties. Several years ago, my niece was at a party with her high school friends where every girl was on her cell phone texting a boy who was NOT in attendance. Yup. The twelve of them were sitting around the living room, phone in hand, not talking to anyone for an hour. My niece didn't own a phone then so she was forced to sit in silence until it was time for cake. At which point, the girls did put their phones down long enough to shovel it in their mouths before getting back to the most important party activity.
How is the younger generation going to make lasting friendships when they don't even LOOK at each other?
3. Paying for items at the store. You've probably seen them. They are the rude customers at the head of the line trying to hold a phone conversation while the clerk waits and the rest of us in line fume. They are the ones who hold up the line because they can't be bothered to put down the phone for a few minutes to give attention to the task at hand. Let's not waste a minute of idle time! Let's fill it with technology and multitask ourselves into relationship oblivion.
A few minutes of down time won't kill you while you wait in line. You may need to answer the gal at the register when she asks a question in order to finish ringing you up. Sally Sales Girl is a real person with a job to do! And all of us behind you are real people with real lives who'd like to make it home before midnight. And by the way, you're talking so loud that you shouldn't be upset that we heard all your private business!
4. Driving. This one goes without saying much. You've seen them driving along intently concentrating on...the conversation!
Hey, Driver Dan! I don't mean to take you away from your important conversation, but you might want to pay attention to the road. My car is currently occupying that space and, while I might not be important to you right now, I'll bet it will rise to the level when your vehicle gets damaged because you ran me into a guard rail!
I've read countless studies from both professors and employers who say that today's generation has no people skills. Well, part of the reason is that they have no practice dealing with real people (you know...up close and personal) because they're too busy talking on their phones, texting, emailing, and social media-ing.
5. Chit Chat. My mom and I were talking about how so few people spend time talking to one another these days. It used to be a courtesy and even fun to engage others in conversation while waiting at the doctor's office or in line at the store. I've had the most rewarding and educational chit chat conversations with people I'll probably never see again. Unfortunately, now, when you look out, it's a sea of people with their heads down staring at a tiny phone screen developing spinal issues.
Put the phone down for a few hours a day and really take the time to engage in a face-to-face conversation once in a while! You might save your spine. You might even learn something.
And, if you'd like to learn to do that effectively, check out our catalog at www.ArtofEloquence.com!
JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication, but it is her humorous approach to communication skills which has made her a highly sought-after Christian speaker and writer. Her articles have appeared in homeschool publications, such as Homeschool Enrichment Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, which also endorses her Say What You Mean curricula. You can also find JoJo;s articles on web sites such as Crosswalk.com and Dr.Laura.com. For more information on communication FUNdamentals and Christian-based communication skills for the whole family, please visit http://www.ArtofEloquence.com