The topic is face time, for the younger set. A recent article in The New York Times questions whether preteens’ and teens’ preferred form of communication — Facebook-wall posts, cell-phone texting, and instant messaging — is hampering their ability to form interpersonal (i.e., in-person) social skills. Whether “the quality of their interactions is being diminished without the intimacy and emotional give and take of regular, extended face-to-face time.”
I’m long past bemoaning the very apparent negative consequences of technology on young people’s ability to form genuinely close friendships. What concerns me is what happens to American business when these kids become adults and have no capacity to sit across a table from a client or potential customer for more than a few minutes instead of the hours it often requires for business to happen? Without being able to look the other person in the eye, stopping every 30 seconds to send or receive a text message or update their Facebook page?
I hope it won’t be so but I can easily foresee a future of not only disastrous personal relationships but a stunted and chaotic business atmosphere as well. Neither bode well for our country. — “Zaphod,” New York
The internet, or to be more precise google, teaches the students that everything is a one-word answer, nothing in complicated, and nothing requires reflection or thinking. College is where we learn to ask questions, not where we find answers, so I don’t even know why they bother enrolling.
I cannot help but also wonder if social networking has contributed to the rise in students who simply cannot look me in the eye when I speak to them, in addition to the markedly increased number of students who I would readily classify as suffering from narcissistic personality disorder.
The social networking also means that they give themselves almost zero time for personal reflection. These students have no internal lives and without that it is very difficult to think and, thus, to accomplish college-level work in any satisfactory fashion. — “Cathy,” Maine