Only 35% of teenagers stated that they participate in human interaction on a daily basis. With that said, the smart phone has been in existence for seven years and since then our means of how we communicate has drastically changed. As a teenager myself, I often wonder what communication will be like by the year 2020 and more importantly, how the English language will be altered in the process.
For most of us, mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have altered our communication methods. My generation of under-20's view email as old-fashioned even though it's still the most common form of business communication. We are shaped by technology to expect information instantaneously anytime, anywhere. One could say that the slightest delay of our command could possibly unleash many type A personalities into a social media rage. Knowing that someone has seen our text message or email drives our demand for an even speedier response, leaving us literally on the edge of our seats while we multitask in fifteen different directions. Yes, the fifteen different directions include other electronic devices that power our world. And the real kicker is, our attention is directed at a single piece of technology, not a human.
Under-20's lack the ability to expand on their thoughts when communicating through mobile devices. Simple, quick responses drive home the point and lack thoughtful emotions or explanations. Emojis have replaced how we show our true thoughts and emotions while the receiver of this information must analyze the data by viewing characters on a backlit screen. This lack of human interaction shapes us to internalize our feelings without discussion or the touch of another human being.
We no longer HAVE to communicate with our voices! My generation feels it unnecessary and bothersome to take the time to call someone to share their whereabouts when a simple check in online gives a shout out to the world without even the slightest whisper.
Do we want the world to know our thoughts, actions and destinations? Absolutely. We scream our need for attention and with this incredible technology we have discovered the potential of fame and fortune by unleashing a simple video or photo for all eyes to view. Television and media has taught us that money and fame can come to us if we only throw ourselves out there, no matter the cost, whether that is our dignity, morals or values. We want it all and we expect it to come easy. Text messages come in a second...why not everything else? Even though today's technology allows my generation to connect with positive mentors they otherwise would not have had the opportunity to meet, there is a lack of long-term perseverance leaving dreams and goals unmet.
It's a very old cliché. A picture is worth a thousand words. The under-20's want the "likes," the RT's and the shares, but not the words. Unfortunately, our words and thoughts have been replaced with shortcuts and memes. The most disappointing part about all of this is the ever more silent sound of the human voice we desperately need in order to fuel the central core of our relationships, family and work environments.
Technology is amazing and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a sort of guinea pig of this social media era, however I never want my generation or those that follow to lose the desire to expand our English language in a positive way by speaking face to face with one another. Next time you are out for lunch take a moment to look around. You will quickly see how many meets for lunch only to have their eyes diverted to a mobile device without a thought to the fact their voices were silent...