From ‘lol’ to ‘omg’: Cell phones inhibit communication, social skills

Society today is globally interconnected, where ideas and technology can be shared across the globe almost instantly with the push of a button. At the heart of this constant technological exchange is a device that has spread to six continents and every country on the map – cell phones. Most phones are able to easily fit into pockets or handbags, and the ability to share information almost instantly has become very important. However, most students have taken the technology far beyond their original purpose; so one must pose the question, do people really need these pocket-sized distractions?

There are several reasons why adults and children should learn to survive without phones. The most important reason being the improving communication skills. Contrary to popular belief, texting friends the word ‘lol’ does not classify as “good communication skills”. Many media sources are beginning to cite extended phone usage as the leading cause of a general decline in the ability to communicate efficiently and effectively, both of which are vital to success in school and business worldwide. These skills also carry over into personal life as well. More frequently, people find themselves absorbed into conversations consisting of one-word – sometimes even one-letter – messages with their friends. However, when they actually meet their peers in person, they realize that they can’t make conversation as easily and continue to stay connected with people over their phone while ignoring the people around them. This phenomena has progressed to the point that people have even started using phones to have serious conversations that they should have in person, such as break ups, asking people out, and emotional issues.

If people were asked to go without their phones, they would have to plan events with those around them. Instead of texting people last minute asking to go places or do things, people would be forced to talk to others and come up with a plan beforehand. While both ways can work, it is better to make plans in person because people tend to like prior warning, and it helps to reduce schedule conflicts. As such, the ability to make and execute a plan is critical to real world success.

One final point to consider is that phones don’t really help people build their character. If you are like me, and I know more people are guilty of this than like to admit, you can find yourself sitting inside for hours playing Angry Birds or browsing the endless maze of Facebook posts. The rise of smart phones has only made it easier for people to lose themselves in the digital world, however, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to be outside or with friends? Progressively, instead of going to meet friends, cell phone users find it easier to simply plug in their phone and neglect the real world in favor of one of their own. When it comes down to it, phones can keep us from what really matters – friends, family, and the world around us.

All in all, I don’t mean to paint cell phones and their users as desensitized people with no social skills. However, I do hope you will take a second to put the phone away, talk to a friend, make a plan for a social event, or just go have fun outside.