Technology stunts social skills

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Technology stunts social skills

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BY KALEB SCHUPPNER, Executive Editor

Imagine a school day with no technology: no Google to research those precious primary source documents for U.S. History, no thesaurus.com to improve that research paper in English, and no iPhones to “look something up” in the middle of a tedious lecture. In a society that’s focused so heavily on technology, it seems nearly impossible to function in the real world if you’re not keeping up.

Over the summer, a humorous commercial about the Toyota Venza came out; however it actually had a pretty strong and accurate underlying message. The commercial featured a teenage girl who was worried about her parents’ social life. It begins with the daughter saying, “I read an article, well the majority of an article online about how older people are becoming more and more anti-social.”

The teenager explains how she “was aggressive” about her parents getting a Facebook account because she was worried about their social life. Scoffing at her parents’ low amount of friends on Facebook, she proceeds to boast about her 900 friends that she has on Facebook. Sadly, although this commercial can seem a bit over-the-top, it’s a pretty true depiction of a lot of teenagers.

The underlying message pokes fun at social media networks and it proposes that social media does not help build relationships or make you anymore “social” than you already are.

While the girl sits at her computer and browses the web, her parents are out with their friends. They’re getting their bikes out of the car, preparing for an active day in nature – obviously Toyota’s way of trying to encourage the buyer to purchase their car.

However, when applied in accordance to the underlying message, that teens are too focused on technology, it shows how going out and doing something in nature with your friends is more “social” than Facebook.

It’s almost like technology can find a way to stunt social skills; teens can now easily withdraw themselves completely by simply going on Twitter, putting in earbuds, or sending text messages. Sure, texting can connect you with friends easily, but some people start paying attention to their phone more than the people around them; and that’s a little ridiculous.

Most high schoolers can recall a time or two when they got to know a person by communicating through text messaging and the Internet, more so than in person. However the downfall of many situations like these, is that once the week starts, the two might never even speak to each other in the hallway.

The time where a boy would actually have to walk up to a girl and ask her out to dinner is starting to evaporate and now it’s only in movies and books.

Teens these days can get out of socially awkward situations, and simply shoot a text. It’s like a barrier on real-life, and people wonder why teens are starting to become more and more socially awkward when they stand face-to-face with people.

Some of the research is astounding. According to Swift SMS Gateway, a Text Broadcast service, 50 percent of teens aged 13-17 believed that they couldn’t live one week without their phone.

About  forty years ago, no one had to rely on technology. Parents also didn’t have to worry about their 12-year old daughter meeting random men on the Internet or their son becoming socially awkward because of playing video games and being on the computer too much. Technology can be a great thing when it’s effectively used in moderate doses, however people shouldn’t let it become a distraction. When it’s more important than the people that are close to you, then it becomes a negative thing.

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