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The Appalachian

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The Appalachian

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Opinion: Technology hinders youth development in today’s society

Kaitlin Newkirk

Kaitlin Newkirk“Lol,” “jk,” “brb,” ttyl,” “lmfao.”

This is what a quick conversation has turned into these days.

For those of us who grew up before the days of chatspeak, we still hone our natural social skills that we gained as children – but what about our youth, the so called “digital natives?” Are they losing important social skills necessary to live in the real world?

Some say no. Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer, author of a pro-technology book titled “Making Friends: A Guide to Understanding and Nuturing your Child’s Friendships,” claims that “electronic media is helping kids to be in touch much more and for longer.”

I strongly disagree.

Hartley-Brewer claims that technology may help kids stay connected while they are apart, but they have to make an effort to connect in person as well.

The rise of technology has diminished that effort.

According to The New York Times, today’s youth miss out on “experiences that develop empathy,” and lack an understanding of “social cues.”

Technology should be a facilitator of one’s social life, a means to make plans easier and see people more often.

But it has done the exact opposite.

Social media outlets can help shy children interact more with their peers, but they are harmed by not learning to deal with face-to-face interaction.

At some point you have to learn to approach people without a keyboard.

Youth today are deemed smart if they can work an iPhone or multitask at high speeds, but are they still brilliant if they lack human communication skills?

If a kid can work Skype but lacks the courage to introduce himself to a complete stranger, is our society really progressing?

I don’t think so.

This complete dependence on technology is out of hand. What is going to happen when kids move away from home and find that they have no necessary skills to go out and meet people or find jobs?

It is a shame that our society has become so turned around that more kids are having play dates with their cell phones than other children.

When I am away from my friends, I send them texts or Facebook messages. But if I have the choice, I would much rather talk to them face-to-face .

But is my generation going to be the last to know how to balance online communication and personal interaction?

It seems that growing up in the digital age clearly has its downfalls.

 

Newkirk, a junior English major from Wilmington, is an opinion writer.

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