Monday, August 31, 2009

Texting, Facebook, Twitter-- do you understand me?

I think you'll enjoy this fascinating article from the Wall Street Journal:

Why Gen-Y Johnny Can't Read Nonverbal Cues

All the more reason to keep talking at the dinner table. My teenage boys don't have texting on their phones but I do find it useful in communicating with the Young Women in our ward. Texting is a useful tool but it seems to have gotten out of balance so quickly. What can we as parents do to ensure that our children still learn interpersonal communication skills?


b. said...

My kids don't have cell phones...period.

It has turned out to be a VERY difficult decision on our part as parents. EVERYBODY: friends, fellow students, teachers, yw/ym leaders, etc. use it almost exclusively to get information out.
Unless in the future my children will be able to text in their job interviews or serve someone in need via texting or social network/media, I feel to my core that we are doing the right thing.

I had no idea that holding my ground on this one was going to be so hard.

b. said...

for clarification: we do have ONE cell phone that a kid can take with them when I feel uneasy or feel like they need to be able to call me for a ride or to let me know they made it to their destination safely.

tjhirst said...

My children don't have cell phones, either (they take mine in an emergency) it hasn't stopped the problem. My daughter isn't developing social skills any easier, she's just on Facebook chatting. Isn't this sort of like when we were kids and our parents were complaining that we were always on the phone? Each generation has to have some social extremity and some social deficit. This is theirs.

So what to do about it. We were at a dance with youth on Saturday and realized that many did not mingle beyond those they already knew. They still feel the same social anxieties of new situations, just like every other generation.

I suggested that each basic social ice breaking activities be introduced at the beginning of thees activities for 5 to 10 or 15 to30 minutes so that they can develop social networking skills in person.

The same model could be used in our homes--around the dinner table, when they come home from school or activities.

I like what was said in the article about not overacting at the generational deficit but looking on it with compassion. They just don't know how. So, those ice breaking times--be they in the family or a larger group, become times of asking questions and waiting for a response, giving affection appropriate to the setting, and showing how to be interested in other people by listening and asking about them.

swedemom said...

I had no idea. My kids are still young, my oldest turns 10 and they hardly know how to use the phone. We're fine with that.

My sisters text each other. I'm out of the loop because I have a basic plan for my phone. I resisted Facebook for a long time, until I found that every single one of my seven sisters was on facebook and actually used it. I signed up then. And guess what, I have heard more from them in the past year than I did all the years I lived in Sweden and used email frequently. Crazy stuff!