By Emilie Despres
Have you ever been at a restaurant and noticed everyone sitting at the table engrossed in their phones? The table is silent with everyone’s faces glowing from the apps and social media outlets they cannot seem to escape. Using cell phones to communicate has become a common reality for young adults today. Social media is a huge contribution to this problem.
Social media has changed the way people interact with one another, resulting in a loss of social interaction skills. This is even apparent here at Bryant University as students struggle having conversations in person due to their dependence on social media.
Snapchat and Instagram have become the primary mode of communication between peers. We, as students, are more focused on checking the notifications that pop up on our phones rather than having meaningful conversations with those who are sitting right next to us. While social media has technologically enhanced our society by connecting people across the world, it has also taken a toll on our communication skills as a society.
Communication skills are crucial to setting us up for success in our personal and professional lives. When you have a conversation in-person, it is important to have basic knowledge of how that communication should look. One should be able to make eye contact, tap into responsive facial expressions, and speak respectfully in accordance to the topic of conversation. Due to the increase in online communication, young adults are now lacking in these basic skills
Emoticons and gifs have made it easier for people to express themselves through their phones, which could also be another reason why people resort to this form of communication. When a person has difficulty showing their emotions, it becomes harder to create relationships in real life. Nonetheless, relying on your phone does not help you in real life situations. If you are in a relationship and you are unable to express your feelings, how can you have a meaningful connection with your partner? If you are in an interview and are struggling with holding eye contact with the manager, how can you expect to land the job?
We need to realize the serious negative, possibly long-term effects that social media can have on our society. It is important that we put the phones down and start having more conversations with our friends and family members.
I would like to encourage the Bryant community (and people in general) to take some time and think about how social media has personally affected your own life. Then, think about how you can minimize your social media use while increasing face to face communication. Are we going to let social media consume us, or are we going to reclaim our relationships?