Editorial: Kids losing social skills due to technology


Many students can relate to the sinking and heavy feeling in the pit of their stomachs when they are told by a teacher to present a project in front of the class. And when it comes to presenting, some will try to find a way to do the presentation a different way, or some just won’t do the presentation at all.

  While we know the rise in anxiety in individuals has increased over the last several years, increasing to 18.1 percent of the U.S population, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, that factor does not help a person with social skills.

  According to Time magazine, a survey asked 1,141 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17, why they usually like social media better than conversing with others. They relatively had the same answer-they felt more comfortable, popular, and less lonesome.

  With this in mind, when teenagers are hanging out with their friends, 45 percent of those same teens say they get irritated when they see their friends always on their phones when they are supposed to be having a good time. But 54 percent of those same teens admit to being that person who is on their phones, even though they have people around them who they are comfortable with, according to the survey

  So, is technology just a distraction to the world around us, or an ‘appropriate’ way to exit yourself out of a situation?

  In an article by Danielle Campbell, a reporter for the online magazine “Odyssey”, said kids, teens, and adults immediately turn to their phones the moment they find themselves lost on what to do. For example, if a young adult is done with school work for a class, and they find themselves lost as to what to do next, most teens would open their phones and look at Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram to see what the latest gossip or news is, besides looking to see if other work needs to be done or even just doodling on their piece of paper. And when people find themselves in an awkward silence, instead of trying to find a conversation starter, they turn to their phones for help in blocking out that weird encounter.

  With humans having the easy and quick fashion of whipping out their phones when they are in a tight social spot, that quick action can cause a person to lose patience when they don’t have a quick and effortless answer.

  A study by Computer Science Professor Ramesh K. Sitaraman at the University of Massachusetts, shows an increase in individuals that refuse to wait for a video to load on the internet. He studied 6.7 million internet users to see how they would react after having a delay that ranged from 2 to 30 seconds. He found that, 100 percent of the people being studied were willing to wait two seconds for a video to start, and when that delay increased to 10 seconds only 50 percent of people were willing to wait for the video to start, while the other 50 percent just gave up on the video completely. If only 50 percent of people were willing to wait for a video, increasing that waiting period would only decrease the percentage of waiters even more, which could further explain the decrease in patience in today’s society.

  With there being so many pros and cons to technology, it can be hard to decide whether it is a good for us or bad. While it was made for our convenience and to help explore a lot more than we ever could imagine, maybe technology isn’t the only factor that is making future generations less interactive. It might just be the way we are.

  Public speaking and interacting with people we are unfamiliar with can be a very uncomfortable and nerve wracking experience. Glossophobia is the official term for the fear of public speaking or speaking to a stranger. According to Very Well Mind, an online medical magazine, 75 percent of the population has the fear of public speaking. It is not just teenagers who are afraid to walk up to a stranger, or a roomful of people, and speak their mind about a certain topic. Granted, for individuals with anxiety disorders and social anxiety, it can be harder for them when it comes to speaking in front of other people, or just speaking to someone one on one. Some people are unable to order a pizza or to talk to someone on the phone when it rings, because of that anxiety of talking to someone they have never met before.

  Regardless of what society believes is the number one cause of anxiety, loss of social skills, and just overall loss of communication, it may not be all just technology’s fault. Everyone is different, and everyone has different fears, which allows them to have obstacles they will have to face. It depends on the individual personally whether they would like to face that fear head on,or run from it by the using the comfort of technology.