By Christopher Canadeo
We have now officially reached the peak of the social media and technological age. Communication technology has become an intricate part of our society and shapes our daily habits and routines.
Through social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, we are able to catch up with old friends and distant relatives as easily as we are able to reach out to our closest friends.
The social media age has brought a deeper sense of connection with distant friends and relatives more than ever before which is a huge positive to society. But are we really connecting?
As great as social media platforms can be, the dangers of them can be even greater.
Unfortunately, it is very easy to create an account on Facebook and Twitter, even if you are young and unaware of how to truly communicate without these platforms.
Social media platforms lure millennials in like bait on a hook. For youth, the problem actually lies in its strengths.
Although Instagram helps grow youth’s personal networks, the app invites children to join at younger ages.
In an effort to not feel left out of any conversations, younger generations are jumping on this social media rollercoaster at an alarming rate. Children are getting cell phones and Twitter accounts before they even hit puberty.
This is a travesty because these kids are using Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat as mediums for conversation rather than the outside world.
If a child does not grow his or her interpersonal skills without the use of social media first, he or she may hinder their social development for years to come and may communicate awkwardly when removed from these platforms.
Conversational skills can only be enhanced through in-person conversations.
Using social media as the sole agent of conversation only masks the inevitable truth that a child has not yet fully matured into a comfortable, conversational speaker.
And yes, some people are shy and are much more comfortable communicating behind a screen in the comfort of their own homes than face-to-face with another person, but there is so much to gain from listening to someone in person.
One must understand what someone else is truly trying to say not only by reading words but by reading their gestures and expressions as well.
There is no equivalent to understanding and empathizing with a person than actually being there to see his or her face. Do we really think emojis can tell the full story?
Consequently, social media can serve as platforms for bullying and may lead kids to feel more alone and less connected than they would ever feel without social media accounts.
Social media platforms should be an extension of one’s fundamentally developed conversational skills, not a substitution of them.
Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat, are all beginning to understand the benefits of speaking with not only words, but also with facial expressions
It is for this reason that people are now able to go live on social media and even briefly video chat with one person or many people.
A perfect alternative to posting or texting on social media and a solution to the problem of poor communication skills to use FaceTime instead.
FaceTime and Skype are gateways to better conversation and can truly help people improve their own communication skills without the complete anxiety of being in the presence of the person.
Technology can be harnessed for a great amount of both good and evil, but before children create their own social media accounts, they must know the difference.