An emphasis on social networking puts younger people at a face-to-face disadvantage.
In September 2008, when Nielsen Mobile announced that teenagers with cellphones each sent and received, on average, 1,742 text messages a month, the number sounded high, but just a few months later Nielsen raised the tally to 2,272. A year earlier, the National School Boards Association estimated that middle- and high-school students devoted an average of nine hours to social networking each week. Add email, blogging, IM, tweets and other digital customs and you realize what kind of hurried, 24/7 communications system young people experience today.
Unfortunately, nearly all of their communication tools involve the exchange of written words alone. At least phones, cellular and otherwise, allow the transmission of tone of voice, pauses and the like. But even these clues are absent in the text-dependent world. Users insert smiley-faces into emails, but they don't see each others' actual faces. They read comments on Facebook, but they don't "read" each others' posture, hand gestures, eye movements, shifts in personal space and other nonverbal—and expressive—behaviors.
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I will admit I Tweet, I text, I FaceBook, I El-Jay. I don't think this has harmed me in any social context. I don't think I am addicted to the internet either despite my use of all those social networking sites. Yes my phone has internet, and I don't know what I'd do without it. But when the professor says no laptops in class I groan a bit, but I suck it up and deal.
I think this guy needs to consider that everything is changing. We have college classes done ENTIRELY online, where you will NEVER meet your professor or any of your classmates. He groans about the "uncommunicativeness" of the younger generation but then complains that they spend too much of their time on social networking sites? (Even though a lot said on there is pure nothing, I'm looking at you Twitter)
idk ... I think this guy is apparently already biased about the younger generation and I find his condescension irking. "Instead, they should show a little compassion and, perhaps, seize on a teachable moment". I think this was an interesting opinion piece, no matter how much it rankles me a bit.
ETA: I edit to ask a question, I noticed a some people saying they are socially awkward. Are people socially awkward because of their internet use, or is it because that they are socially awkward they gravitate to the internet?