Are my fellows Millennials improving their communication skills through Facebook or ruining them? Some say that Facebook makes our generation squeamish towards actual face-to-face interaction. While others say that Facebook helps us constantly stay connected to friends and helps shy teens branch out and become more social.
The article debates both sides of how Facebook affects our generation’s communication skills. Most believe that Facebook is desensitizing our generation; making us less accommodated to empathy and ruins the emotional values of friendship. Researchers believe that social networking is ruining our face-to-face communication skills, which are vital in adulthood.
On the other side of the argument, some parents believe that social networks like Facebook help their shy children become more interactive with their peers. They believe communicating via Internet makes it easier for them to “come out of their shell”. Some people from the article also believe that teens in our generation can now stay more connected to our friends constantly, which makes our friendships stronger. We can text them, message them, or video chat them at any time.
The problem comes in to where to draw the line between online interacting and actual face-to-face interacting. Facebook can keep us connected to our friends when we are away from each other but it still ruins the emotional value of friendship. Instead of talking directly to our friends and working on our speaking skills, we would rather message them, which in some instances can be a harsh and unconnected form of communication towards them. And instead of calling a friend to wish them a sincere happy birthday, we post it on their Facebook wall! I believe a good friend would call me rather than just put it on my wall. Also, my peers seem to be more reluctant to social interaction as in: they would prefer to say something over a text message.
This is a huge problem because when we leave college and go into the work force we need those proper communication skills to interact with the world. We also need to fully write or type down things, not shorten them nor type in IM like we have learned from Facebook.
A plus from this social networking can be seen in my Mass Communications class website. Through that website all of the students in the class can view the class syllabus, class assignments, grading rubrics, blogging assignments, look at internships, and participate in forum discussions. Without this social networking site, we all would fail the class! Relating to my article, our class website also allows us to message and chat with other students for anything at anytime, which is really useful when you have question on the material.
Overall, striking a good balance between online and face-to-face interaction is key to this dilemma. It is good to keep in touch with friends and keep up with assignments online but we need to remember to call our friends instead of message them. It is faster anyway! My peers need to embrace face-to-face interaction and keep in touch with the emotional value of their friendships.
How empathetic is writing “I am sorry for your loss” on a friends wall compared to actually visiting them and giving them a comforting hug? There is a huge difference between the two and this is what I am urging my fellow Millennials to realize!
I challenge my peers to: call their friends next time it is their birthday, not message the friends they saw or will see face to face that day (unless to plan the meeting), go a day without Facebook! See what you can do with your friends in person in the time that you would have just been chatting them online!
You may be surprised.