Is Texting Stunting Our Kids’ Communication Skills?

One of my pet peeve is someone coming up to me and just saying “Hey” as a way of greeting.  I find it to be very annoying and almost offensive, why not just add my name to the end of that?  Yesterday, I was one Facebook, and a young niece jumped on and and the only word she typed was, “Hey”.  Needless to say, she received a scolding and a lesson on communication and how it can be done in a respectful manner and in a way that considers your audience’s age and stature.  Have you ever listened to kids greeting each other, it is just like that, “hey”.  I sometimes how could we have progressed this far, yet we are regressing by grunting at each other.


The art of communication

As humans, we communicate everyday, to do this effectively we must develop the proper skills.  In order for us to develop good communication skills, we must interact verbally with each other.  Relationships are made and are broken largely based on the effectiveness of the communication between the individuals involved.  We must convey our thoughts concisely and in a manner that the listener can understand and appreciate.  In order to do this, we must practice listening and speaking.   Our kids are not doing this are they mostly reading via text, thus they have no idea how to carry on a normal conversation when face to face.  In communicating via texting, they are missing out on the nuances and importance of tone, facial expressions and body language and how these can impact the message that they are sending when interacting directly with people.  If we want our kids to develop communication skills, we  find ways to encourage direct conversations, and if necessary put limits on their texting.


Why they Like Texting

Texting is easy for kids to do as they can hide behind the phone and be brave, they can say what they want, pretend to be who they are not without the reality of facing the person they are communicating with.  After reading some of my son’s not so pleasant texts, I have asked if he would have said the same thing had he been in front of the individual, or even on the phone talking, and the answer at all times was no.


Enabling Good Communications Skills

In order for kids to learn communication skills, we have to communicate with them.  In order to do so, we must start by modeling good behaviors ourselves.   Find ways to communicate outside of Facebook and Twitter yourself, let your children hear and see you having direct meaningful conversations with others.  There are lesson to be taught here, not to mention vocabulary building.

Talk to them early on when they are small, encourage open lines of communication, don’t just ask how was their day, and stop there after they say good.   Go deeper, and find out what actually went on in the classroom, hearing how he or she responded to different situations.

While driving in the car, take the opportunity at times to talk about current events.  Don’t allow everyone to be texting away while you chat on the phone yourself

Present your kids with opportunities to have conversations with adults.  This can be done by inviting friends over, having family gatherings, etc.  The kids typically go off, however, before they do get them to engage with the adults for some time.

Demand respectful and appropriate communication from your kids, don’t let them get away with the grunt of greeting you with “Hey” and what’s up! Encourage them to use words that strengthens their vocabulary, along with addressing the person based on who they are.  They should be taught that communication changes based on the audience.  They cannot expect to greet the president or their teacher the way they would a friend.

Have them call friends sometimes instead of text.


Final Thoughts

These strategies above are not difficult to implement, and they must be if we are not content to raise a nation of grunters.  Let’s teach proper communication skills, and not text ourselves back into the dark ages.














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