It is clearly apparent that technology and social media have taken a stronghold on everyday life. But does social media actually impair our social skills? Often my adult relatives complain to my cousins and I, “ You guys need to get off those phones and have a real conversation”. My grandpa has a rule that we are not allowed to have our phones at the dinner table, and my uncle even bought a “phone jail” to lock up our phones. But in reality, adults are just as bad as us! I find my mom constantly on Facebook looking at pictures of her old college friends and their families. My dad is always following his fantasy football scores and texting “smack” to his cousins. Even prominent figures in American society rely on social media and technology for news and communication purposes, such as President Obama and Chris Christie. Does this mean that this way of communicating is the right way to go? Technically, no, but they do influence our actions greatly.
Numerous times my friends and I have tried to have a “no phone dinner”. We go out to dinner and stack up our 10+ iPhones and put them off to the side. We usually surrender this challenge after a half hour or so. After we give up, we eagerly grab our phones and scroll through photos on Instagram. The amount of time I spend on my phone a day is ridiculous, and I acknowledge it, but don’t do anything to change my habits.
The question is though, does this overuse of technology negatively affect our social skills? In some ways, this causes people to verbally communicate less. For example, if someone is upset over something they might tweet or “subtweet” about someone, without actually communicating their problems. Or they might text someone and say things that they would never say in person. Communicating online has almost replaced normal communication. Even the use of technology to talk on the phone has declined. Just think about when everyone used to call each other to communicate, I wouldn’t even imagine of doing that today. The number of texts I send and receive greatly exceeds the amount of time I spend talking on the phone. The only people I still talk on the phone to is older family members who have not adapted to texting or social media. If I want to invite a friend over, I shoot them a 2 second text, instead of talking on the phone. This is also an example of how technology has caused a drastic increase in laziness among teenagers. Upon arriving at someone’s house, I text them to tell them I’m here instead of getting up and ringing the doorbell.
Is technology, a positive and progressive advancement? Many people would make the claim that a phone or social media creates a negative verbal barrier among people. Technology has begun to impair our social skills because of the safety net it creates. People feel more comfortable expressing their thoughts on a screen, especially when they know social media allows them to be able to remove those words. This discourages normal conversation. It's possible that the influx of technology in our lives has created a new “normal”. Technology has greatly influenced a decrease in verbal communication among not only teenagers, but the American society as a whole.