The Older Generation’s Views on Texting: Are Teens’ Social Skills Declining?

Today, texting is one of the most reliable, effective, quick, and preferred forms of communication.

According to Pew Research Studies, people between the ages of 13-44 are avid ‘texters,’ while older adults “prefer calls or emails, over texting” (Ere Media). In the eyes of the “Boomers,” texting has many downfalls, which includes the deterioration of today’s teen’s social skills.

Professor Karl Moore of McGill University, addresses why the elderly refrain from texting in his article, ‘Young People, Stop Just Texting Me and Give Me a Call Once in a While PLZ!’  Dr. Moore reveals that the reason social skills are being undermined, is texting. He particularly states that texting removes that human element and social etiquette everyone has. Without facial expressions, body language, or voice, it is very difficult to have a free-flowing conversation, and establish a relationship.

Even though I am Pro for texting, I do agree with Dr. Moore’s article; especially the fact that, texting does have an affect on a person’s social skills. During high school, I noticed that many of my fellow classmates got their first phones, or they simply updated from the recent iPhone 6 to the iPhone 6 Plus. As the year went by, sitting at the lunch table, there would be no conversation whatsoever, except the usual greetings.You could probably hear a person’s phone alert going off louder than the entire student body’s chit-chat in the cafeteria. That’s how awful it was. Everyone’s faces would be glued to their screens, their fingers tapping faster than a horse, and their occasional ‘look up’ from their device and input to a possible conversation would be, “I didn’t hear you. What did you say?” 

To be honest with you, I find this habit pretty rude. I mean, you meet your friends once in a while, and when you’re finally with them, you expect to have a conversation or two, but the other person is so engrossed with their phones. I admit, I am becoming an avid texter, but I know my limitations. I know that when I’m at any family gatherings or friend reunions, I do not even pull my phone out, except for the one or two selfies, but thats it. I know there’s a line that I shouldn’t cross when I am with friends and family, and I dare not cross at it all. Texting amongst such dear people in my life, or even in the company of others, seems too rude and selfish of me. When I have the time to socialize, I socialize. It’s just great to go out, meet new people, have a face-to-face conversation, and speak freely.

Additionally, elderly adults fear that teens are unable to enter the ‘real world,’ as it seems that more of them are losing the ability, or either avoiding an in-person conversation. Professor Janet Sternberg, a linguist at New York’s Fordham University, mentions that texting “is an art that's becoming as valuable as good writing,” but she worries for these students entering the working world (“Text Messaging: Is Texting Ruining The Art Of Conversation?”).

She states that students’ social skills are depreciating, which is vital in the workplace, personal relationships, and in every interaction in life. Dr. Sternberg also notices that, if there is conversation amongst her and her students, they rarely look at her in the eye, and most have “trouble with the basics of direct conversation.” As students graduate and enter the working world, many of their elders in the working field will expect the conventional face-to-face, or in some cases, a phone call. If students lack these necessary skills, how do they expect to succeed in their career paths, or even life itself?

Furthermore, in this time and age, losing one’s social skills is one of the most prevalent reasons why older adults rarely text. It is preventing the younger generation from advancing in life, in regards to their social etiquette. The elderly are not exactly against text messaging, but they fear the results of texting within the future generations, especially the future of a teen’s social skills.

Written By: Sabrina Rajpaul

Works Cited:

"ERE Media." ERE Media. Web. 12 Nov. 2015. < http://www.eremedia.com/ere/the-pros-and-cons-             of-texting-for-talent/)>.

Gentilviso, Chris. "Text Messaging: Is Texting Ruining The Art Of Conversation?" The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com. Web. 12 Nov. 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/03/text-messaging-texting-conversation_n_1566408.html>.

Moore, Karl. "Young People, Stop Just Texting Me and Give Me a Call Once in a While PLZ!" Forbes. Forbes Magazine. Web. 14 Nov. 2015. people-stop-just-texting-me-and-give-me-a- call-once-in-a-while-plz-part-deux/>.