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I had no idea my boyfriend and I had broken up until my friends started texting me asking why. Confused, I logged onto my Facebook account. I had a notification saying that my now ex-boyfriend had cancelled the relationship. I also had an inbox message from him explaining that it just was not working out between us. This had all happened about two hours before. I was angrier that he did not bother to tell me that we broke up than the fact that we broke up.
Sadly, situations like this have become increasingly more common over the past few years. Although modern technology has improved day-to-day functions, it has also contributed to a decline in social skills that once came almost naturally to previous generations. Lack of proper social skills is a huge problem that my generation is facing.
In the past, talking on the phone and sending letters in the mail were the primary means of communication other than face-to-face. Today’s technology, however, offers many other ways of contacting people. We now have pagers, e-mail, instant messaging, cell phones, text messaging, webcams, and social networking sites, to name a few. With all those options, reaching someone does not seem to be much of a problem anymore. Face-to-face confrontation, though, does seem to be a problem. When teenagers do not want to be put in a situation in which there is a potential conflict, they use technology to avoid a face-to-face confrontation altogether. More and more couples break up via text message now, and cyber bullying has become an increasing problem as well. With the option of an easy way out, teenagers now-a-days do not learn how to deal with simple confrontations, which can cause problems for them in the future.
Teenagers also lack simple, basic social skills that are important for them to have in order to be successful adults. Many high school students are so used to interacting through text messages and social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace that they do not know how to interact with each other in person. They do not know when they are supposed to do simple things like shake hands or make eye-contact. Some are not even sure how to speak to each other in order to get the message across clearly. The lack of face-to-face interaction leads to people shying away from each other in social situations, and can ultimately cause people to have trouble creating and maintaining relationships with each other.
I am a naturally shy person. Text messaging and Facebook have made it easier for me to talk to people, but when I am with people in a face-to-face situation, it has become harder. I have tried to limit how much I talk to people using Facebook and text messages. Instead of texting all the time, I try to call people and speak to them on the phone, and instead of creating a Facebook Event, I make invitations and hand them out to the people I wish to invite. Although technology has made communication faster and easier, it has not made communication better. With small steps, I hope that myself and others can overcome the communication barrier so that we can develop the social skills we need to one day live on our own.
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