a special feature from Kay & Leslie, founders
The saying that’s been passed down from grandparents’ generation to generation, “Oh, those kids these days…,” has taken on a different meaning in the most recent years. We are well aware that technological advances have created a new palate of communication skills that could be considered cold, distant, non-personal and far removed from human eye-to-eye contact. While our children have many obstacles to face just like every generation before them, our worries for future generations have taken on a different nature.
Let’s face it, devices may be a great buffer for long car rides or when you just need a break from entertaining the kids. But, what we are noticing is that children are SOOO glued to those devices that they are unable to hold a conversation with an adult, using full sentences. And, sometimes we find ourselves too as adults, being short, discourteous, and disrespectful with people when we are attached to our phones. Three strikes and here we go!
Our fascination with screens cuts down on the face-to-face interaction needed in relationships. Do you see this with your grandkids and their friends? The obsession with phones, social media, games, and text messages is robbing kids today of basic communication skills necessary for relationships with others. Even worse, we find ourselves lacking the ability and desire to listen. If we are losing these skills, it is inevitable that our kids/grandkids are too. What skills are our kids missing out on?
Here are 8 communication skills kids have lost, or will lose if we don’t make some serious changes:
1. The Ability to Speak to Others
Children grow up with a tendency toward quick burst communication and miss out on the opportunity to connect. In the process, they miss out on telling stories, living adventures, and sharing hurts and challenges in real person and in real time.
2. The Ability to Think and Communicate on the Fly
Most device-driven communication is filtered, thought through, and processed before delivered via text or email. Face-to-face communication, however, requires us to be spontaneous and think in the moment. A device-driven, text-centered culture leads our kids to edit and control their communication. In-person communication with others becomes awkward because we don’t know how to think and speak, or even make eye contact.
3. Communicating with and Reading Non-Verbals
When we communicate primarily via text, we lose the ability to recognize and read non-verbal cues in others. As is often said, non-verbal communication speaks even louder than verbal communication. Losing inflection of one’s voice and tone is a result of this text-type communication platform.
4. The Ability to Be Focused on Others
When we spend so much time on our phones, we lose the ability to serve and focus on others. A friend who teaches at a public high school notes that when he started teaching, kids in his classes would talk to each other in the hallways and in the classroom. Now when he walks into his classroom, everyone is on a phone and most kids aren’t talking to each other. We are becoming a society where our heads are consistently looking down and peering at our devices. In the process, we become much more focused on our own needs instead of the needs of others.
5. Communicating with Authenticity
We easily can hide behind the world of words and emojis. Face-to-face communication makes it much tougher to hide how we’re really doing and feeling. Losing the ability of physical expression is a result of this.
6. Interacting Face-to-Face
Sometimes we just need to look someone in the eye, cry on someone’s shoulder, laugh with someone, or get or give a reassuring hug or pat on the shoulder. The more we rely on written/texted communication, the more we miss out on physical touch, encouragement, and affection from a friend.
7. The Ability and Desire to Listen
Our kids don’t possess the ability to listen to adults or their friends simultaneously as they listen to music, shows, or games on their devices. Not only do our kids lack the ability, but they lack the desire. They choose to ignore or tune out others, instead of engaging with them.
8. The Ability to Build an Argument
When our kids are used to communicating in short bursts, they lose the ability to build a case or an argument. So much of life as an adult is centered around putting together cohesive thoughts that build upon each other. Our kids have learned to communicate with emojis, Bitmojis, and GIFs instead of words, which holds them back from putting together deeper thoughts or arguments.
Let’s all make a point to put those phones down when we are having dinner, watching TV together, or on a road trip together … and get talking and looking at one another.
*Portions of article reprinted from: https://www.allprodad.com/8-communication-skills-kids-today-have-lost/