Morgan Brown ‘17 — A family slides into a booth of a restaurant, completely ignoring each other’s presence. Friends sit in a circle at lunch, but rather than gossiping about the day’s events, they browse Twitter. A boyfriend and girlfriend lay next to each other, simultaneously pulling out their phones, scrolling through messages without conversation.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

A new tone sounds each time a message rolls in. Eyes focus on the “conversation” projected on the screen of their phones.

What some fail to realize is that with the coming of new technology, communication skills become less important. After all, why bother speaking to someone when you can type a quick message and hit send? If people, young and old, continue to live on their phones, America will evolve into a nation without a voice.

“You don’t realize what’s going on around you if you’re on your phone all the time,” Robert Wert ‘16 said. “It’s incredibly antisocial to be on your phone around others.”

When one relies on the Internet to converse, they are left ignorant and oblivious to their surroundings. Without personal conversations with others, there is no way to develop the observational and communicatory skills needed for the future. As teenagers grow up, they cannot rely on text messages, tweets, and Instagram posts to get the point across.

According to psychologytoday.com, over 80% of teenagers and young adults preferred texting to phone calls and face-to-face conversations.

What adolescents must understand is that in the future, texting is not always an acceptable form of communication. While easy and convenient, the phenomenon of quickly sending a text message proves ineffective in facing important situations.

Employees cannot email their résumés to potential employers. Students cannot text their teachers to inquire about their grades. Families cannot bond through minimal oral conversation while they sit on their phones right next to one another. Friends and couples cannot work through problems through messages where context and meaning is uncertain.

“It [technology] is supposed to keep us in contact, but we lack eye contact,” Mrs. Bridget Kowalke, AP English teacher at Romeo, said. “It really does affect communication when we’re constantly using technology to do it.”

Rather than conversing through computer or phone screens, people should practice speaking in person, embracing every opportunity to speak and develop a connection with others.

“Live in the present, not on your phone,” Leah Peltier ‘17 said. “Enjoy the time with the people that you’re with. Don’t take it for granted.”

The recent influx of technology and transition to a technology-based lifestyle affects the entire nation, and their ability to communicate effectively and genuinely. If people simply start setting down their phones and opening their mouths, it is possible that America’s overall lack of communication can be resolved. However, if we continue to absorb ourselves in technology at the rate we are, the possibility of redemption dwindles.
Social media is not really social. Texting does not compare to a face-to-face conversation. Life should not be determined by the battery percentage on a phone. Since children now grow up believing that conversation is typing a message, America lost its voice.  

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