Technological Changes in Communication among Adolescents

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Over the years advancements in technology have heavily influenced the development of America’s youth, especially in relation to how one communicates to another. In past generations orality was a direct parallel to communication, but now with media on a relentless rise, vocalizing one’s thoughts is not the preferred method of communication: “[w]hen technology usage changes from being a convenient method of communication to becoming a preferred method of communication, it could be particularly problematic, especially when this preference stems from a desire to avoid direct face to face social contact” (Berman 82). Adolescents would rather relay messages to one another through text messaging, snapchatting, or direct messaging through a social media site. Society is forcing a technological way of living upon their youth, to which the ignoramus adolescents accept. A society so dependent on variations of technological communication will ultimately affect how today’s youth develop emotionally and form long lasting relationships.

It is no secret that the majority of people under the age of twenty-five would rather text message one another rather than communicate face to face or through a phone call. While there are perks to text messaging, such as having time to arrange one’s thoughts before replying, there are twice as many negative aspects to communicating through a technological field. Messaging one another rather than communicating in person leaves numerous areas open for error. There is always the possibility that the receiver of one’s message may misinterpret the meaning: “[w]hen people cannot see and hear others with whom they are communicating, they are deprived of the visual and auditory cues of facial expression, body language, and voice dynamics that convey emotion and meaning. The inherent ambiguity in this type of communication opens the door to miscommunication and, at times, a lack of civility” (Berman 81). The lack of emotion and possibility of miscommunication will largely impact the development of relationships, as well. How youth interacts with one another in cyberspace is often very different from how they would react in person.

With the use of social media sites, adolescents are capable of fabricating a completely different life than the one they are living, which alters the way they may communicate on and off-line. Over time they may think of themselves as having multiple separate identities: “[w]hile social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace provide vehicles for exploring and constructing personal identities, it also makes it easier to construct false identities, extreme identities, and identities disconnected from reality” (Berman 81). Experiencing different identities will change the way one perceives themselves and how others perceive them, and in order to keep the identities separate from one another they will have to communicate with their peers according to which identity they currently are showing to the world. How one communicates with their online self may be very different from how one communicates in person. When online they may use the technological barrier as a buffer between them and the “real world” which will change their comfortability levels. When youth go deeper into the virtual world many find it easier to communicate because of the lack of pressure that is often involved in face to face communication. However, if their only resort is to delve deeper into social media they will not learn how to gain comfortability when orally communicating.

When developing one’s character, how one communicates with others is a large component to how the “final project” will turn out. Though technology is advancing and it is easier to hide behind screens, it is vital for new generations to remember how to communicate without the dependency of media.

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