Screen time influences social skills

Kylie Aloi, Reporter

In this generation, talking on the phone seems foreign. As technology increases, it seems humans are losing their ability to talk in person.

“Technology allows people to communicate easily though it is probably affecting their verbal skills to some extent,” Nick Thorton, junior, said.

A year that proved to be evolutionary was 1998; the very first smartphone was released. Today, 78 percent of teenagers have smart phones according to the website Digital Commons. This is a 256 percent increase of teens that have cell phones since 2000. These days, most middle and high school students carry a cell phone on them at all times.

Having a cell phone has its pros and cons. Cell phones can help people in an emergency, keep them up to date with all things happening in their lives, and enable them to communicate with others wherever they are. “I am on my phone probably four hours a day,” Thorton said. Cell phones give people the ability to stay connected throughout the day.

Texting has become a lifeline for people who don’t enjoy being around others. It requires no physical proximity to the person someone is communicating with. “When people aren’t using face-to-face contact for personal issues, it doesn’t fill the intimacy need,” Dr. Kate Roberts, physiologist said, according to website Desert News. Internet and texting communication can be helpful for those with social issues, but alternatively can cause gaps in a relationship for someone who does not.

Texting has become a new way to establish relationships as well. According the National Brain Research Institute, more than 41,250,000 people have used online dating sites. Because of the large increase in online dating sites, more people look to texting and online dating.

According to Pew Research Center, one out of every five 24- to 35-year-olds have an onlive dating profile. Online dating has become a world wide solution for people who don’t want to have physical relationships with someone.

Although texting is helpful for those who struggle with communication skills, it is also a drawback for those who feel fine around others. Texting and messaging through the Internet is causing even casual dinner conversation to feel awkward.

“Technology is slowly turning people into robots, like Terminator,” Kolton Lehman, junior, said. Lehman believes that one day robots will take over the human species.

The Internet is causing young children to mature differently. According to Denise Daniels, pediatric nurse, according to website Desert News, technology has the ability to rewrite a child’s brain pathways. “The problem is that the more people and children interact with a person or the real world through a screen rather than in real life, less emotion is attached to the exchange,” Daniels said. Children need physical and emotional connections to mature the correct way, and technology is not capable of offering that.

“Technology is here to stay,” Daniels  said, “and limits should be crucial when dealing with students and screen time.”

Technology has changed the way people live. It has affected the way children and adults think and behave. Humans have developed a new way of talking ­—digital language— that has caused social skills to dissipate. Technology is an important part of modern culture, but is it worth losing communicative skills?