Is Technology Helping or Hurting Our Social Skills? | Teen Ink

Is Technology Helping or Hurting Our Social Skills?

January 12, 2010
By kburt94 BRONZE, Houston, Texas
kburt94 BRONZE, Houston, Texas
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Have you ever been sitting on a school bus filled with teenagers? You might notice that some might be socializing, but the majority are either listening or playing games on their IPods. This might not seem like a problem, but there is debate over this topic because researchers are concerned that kids technology is either increasing or decreasing their social abilities of the general populace. Researchers are worried that kids are missing importance social cues and the capability to socialize without coming off socially awkward. Others think is technology such as the IPod and internet are good for making new friends and socializing. Some technology can be useful for some social interaction, however some kids are letting the internet take control of social lives and slowly the want and ability to socialize face-to-face is decreasing.

In one article, Krystle Song argues that IPods are bad because they hamper our social abilities. I agree with this article because IPods get in the way, “Interaction between individuals is slowly diminishing as people turn to their technological devices instead of attempting to make a new acquaintance or simply experience the “natural” sights and sounds around them”(Song 1). This quote explains how people are simply blocking out their surroundings and the people around them to listen to music instead of trying to strike up a conversation with someone. However some people are arguing that IPods bring people together. There is a club in New York that has a night when people can bring in their IPods and listen to everyone’s favorite playlist. That makes sense if it is bringing people together to meet new people face to face, which is the good side of technology. But people that are sitting on the bus with earphones in usually sends out a signal that says leave me alone I am listening to music. The only logical fallacy in this article is hasty generalization because Song is quick to judge that most people overuse their IPods.

One article written by Neil Postman argues that school is good to increase kids social skills, but online classes are bad because people will not have the opportunity to learn certain characteristics that are essential to becoming, “Civilized people” (Postman 1). I agree with this article because in school kids have the opportunity to learn how to “…follow certain rules, like raising their hands when they wish to speak, not talking when other are talking, not chewing gum, not leaving until the bell rings, exhibiting patience toward slower learners, “Postman 1). These rules are important to be able to learn how to function in a society. Some people argue that online classes are good. With online classes, you cannot learn how to act in certain social situations, how to be patient, and most importantly just how to act around people. There is one logical fallacy, when he talks about Robert Fullghum’s book, All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten; Postman compares kindergarteners to older kids, which is faulty analogy.

Jean-Francois Coget and Yamauchi Yutaka argue in one article that the internet can broaden someone’s social circle, but the relationships formed online are not as rewarding. I think meeting people online in chat rooms and other services is not safe. For one, they could be trying to meet new people for bad purposes and they could be totally lying about themselves. I think those services are not safe; however I do feel that a safe online dating networks would be appropriate for meeting people face to face, not just meeting them online and never seeing them in person. Personally I think online relationships could be based off false information and maybe even false identity. I think the internet is good for keeping in touch with your friends, but if you only use the internet to talk to your friends, you will not be able to share emotions through words and not face to face interaction, and eventually your connection with them will be lost. In the end, “Individuals tend to adjust to their behavior in response to limitations of technology by compensating for the loss of nonverbal communicative cues through expressing their emotions in words”(Coget and Yutaka 1).

One study by Norman Nie and Sunshine Hillygus show some interesting data. They compared non-internet users with internet users based on social activities and time with people such as friends and family. Now some people are arguing that the internet opens people to social activities, but this article shows otherwise. On average, non-internet users have attend more parties, spend much more time in conversations, and spend a staggering more amount of time with friends and family than internet users. There is one logical fallacy in this article and that is selective sampling because we the readers do not know who they surveyed. This article shows that non-internet users still have more social activities than internet users, and we also can infer that the non-internet relationships with family and friends are a lot more fulfilling.

Some technology can be useful for some social interaction, however some kids are letting the internet take control of social lives and slowly the want and ability to socialize face-to-face is decreasing. It is important to know what technology could do your social life. How do you know your not falling into the internet spell? Do you want to only listen to your IPod when in a crowded room of people instead of wanting to socialize? Would you prefer staying at home trying to meet new people online instead of going out? Would you rather talk to one of your best friends through video chat instead of going out to eat? Instead of going to school would you like to take online classes instead? If you answered yes to most of these questions, you could be loosing the ability to strike up a conversation.

The author's comments:
I loved this article.

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This article has 5 comments.

mkt35 said...
on Feb. 12 2014 at 11:59 am
I totally agree. I can't stand when people pull out their phones, when you are trying tohold a conversation with them! It is completely rude. I am doing a persuasive paper about this topic for english class.. could you tell me some sources or what you looked up to get information? Nice article by the way!

zerwi said...
on Apr. 13 2013 at 6:15 pm
I can understand the frustration when someone simply says 'k'. Though I don't think I have ever heard someone of any age use newspeak, other than the term big brother.

joelw878 said...
on Mar. 6 2012 at 4:19 pm
joelw878, Asa, California
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
time to kick butt and chew bubblegum, but im all out of gum

this is a really good post that i agree to

on Mar. 6 2012 at 11:35 am
or when they text k or when they use newspeak (from Orwells 1984)

Archy said...
on Aug. 21 2011 at 6:42 pm
Archy, Honolulu, Hawaii
0 articles 0 photos 41 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone"
~Robin Williams

It truly is annoying when you try to talk to someone and they pull out their phone and start txting someone else. Or when they text someone halfway across the room.