What will the effects of social media be on communication skills when a new generation of students reach college? What will the effects be when they enter the workforce? What about when they start a family and join school, work, and social communities?
It’s too soon to know the true effects of social media on our society, but many are concerned that it will interfere with the foundation of how we communicate. In the article “Social Media Have Impact on School Life,” Capital High School Principal Clinton Giles says that he doesn’t fear that kids are losing their communication skills, it goes deeper than that. He says, “It’s not that they’ve lost it; they did not acquire it in the first place.”
In the article, Giles shares a look inside the cafeteria at his school. He recently watched a table full of kids typing on their phones instead of engaging in conversation with each other. “All they are doing is texting and Facebooking. And they are probably texting each other,” he said. He believes there is a place for digital learning, but that his students are showing signs that they are addicted to social media, unable to decipher when it’s appropriate to use short-hand versus academic language, and unaware it is disrespectful to interrupt a face-to-face conversation by answering their phone.
A recent survey of nearly 3,000 college students and professionals age 30 or younger in 14 countries found 2 in 5 college students believed the Internet and social media were more important than dating or going out with friends. The report also found 27 percent of college students said staying updated on Facebook was more important than partying, dating, listening to music or hanging out with friends. The same group also preferred to interact online, opposed to face-to-face.
Some youth defend their social media use saying it is an easy way to communicate a single message to multiple people, send an informal message that is quick and doesn’t constitute a phone call, or have a conversation with someone they don’t know very well.
How can you find a balance in your classroom or home that supports digital learning and interpersonal communication? How can you be more understanding of a new form of communication? What can you do to teach students the value of clear written communication and face-to-face professional conversations?
“Social Media Have Impact on School Life,” by Kathryn Gregory. 4 February 2012. Gazette Mail. Accessed on 7 February 2012. http://sundaygazettemail.com/News/201202030259?page=2&build=cache