What we currently lack in digital conversations


Photo via get.tech

You know it. I know it. You have a conversation online and you muster up enough courage to tell whoever you’re texting exactly what you want to tell them. But would you do this in person?

When we argue on social media, a common phrase used is, “say that to my face!” But let’s be honest, are you really going to go over to someone and argue what you want, when instead, you could stay safe in the comfort of behind your screen? When in-person, having good communication skills aid in respectful debate whereas online, anything can be used to win the fight, even disrespectful and harmful language.

We all know the drastic benefits of social media and the wider use of technology these days, and most of us also acknowledge the pitfalls of it as well. The notion that one’s problems can be erased with a simple ‘send’ button is what might cause us, especially as teenagers, to lack proper communication skills.

Having the skills to solve problems without the safety of our phones seems to be faltering. Teenagers are no longer having debates in person or even most conversations. They are limited to empty emojis or words in ALL CAPS. Another large problem with the lack of these skills is the absence of body language.

Body language is vital to our conversations as stated, “The importance of eye contact in human relationships, whether at school or work, is difficult to underestimate. It is the strongest form of nonverbal communication and over 43 percent of the attention we focus on someone is devoted to the eyes. It also plays a critical role in the development of emotional connections”(How Technology Affects).

The lack of communication skills leaves teenagers having to face multiple consequences. According to Tyler Jacobson of  Psych Central, “In initial professional phone conversations, and emails, it’s important to introduce yourself, and be as detailed, yet concise as possible. The tendency to text rather than call people has left the younger generation hopelessly awkward and nervous over the phone.” Communication skills are vital for a teenager’s future. Most of our teenagers will apply to jobs or colleges and have to impress employers with good interviews and thoughtful responses but will not know how to deal with these situations.

Some will have to work with people within their careers, which again, needs more than simple one-word responses. These skills will take teenagers in our day and age far, especially seeing as not many possess them, those who do are a rare commodity.