I recently read an article entitled 8 Communication Skills Kids Today Have Lost by the author Mark Merrill, which came from a post on allprodad.com.
As I read this article, I saw many truths that are facing this generation of students. The current generation of children is referred to as Generation Z. They follow the Millenials, who many studies have already shown lack the skills to communicate and cope with the world as they face life after high school and college.
Generation Z is characterized as being exposed to technology and the Internet from a very early age. One of their primary means of socialization is expected to be through social media.
It is up to us as parents and teachers to ensure that our students have the ability to communicate well through traditional means. This ability will be one of the key factors to set them apart for success in life.
The eight communication skills that have been lost on this generation, according to Merrill, are:
1. The ability to speak to others.
Children are used to communicating in quick bursts, much like a 140 character tweet. They miss out on telling stories, living adventures and sharing their deeper feelings.
2. The ability to think and communicate on the fly.
Face-to-face communication differs from technological communication where one has time to process and correct before hitting send. In-person communication is more difficult for these children who don’t know how to think and speak in person.
3. Communicating with and reading non-verbals.
Communication through text and email causes us to lose the ability to read someone’s non-verbal cues when we are talking with them. It is hard to understand someone’s emotions, and often we misunderstand those emotions in an email or text. Emojis don’t substitute for looking someone in the eye and hearing the tone of their voice!
4. The ability to be others-focused.
When we are focused on the device in our hands, we lose the ability to see the world around us and notice those who are hurting or in need. Whenever I am in public, it saddens me to see families who are holding a device and interacting with that instead of talking to each other.
5. Communicating with authenticity.
We can hide behind a device. It is much harder to hide our feelings and emotions when we are speaking face to face with someone.
6. Interacting face to face.
There are times when it is important to look someone in the eye and share our feelings with a hug, pat on the shoulder, laugh or cry.
7. The ability and desire to listen.
Kids are so focused on their device that they cannot stop and look at an adult or even their friend to have a conversation. They lack the ability and even the desire to engage with others around them.
8. The ability to build and argument.
Since kids are used to communicating in short bursts, they lack the ability to build a case or make an argument. Life as an adult is built around being able to put together cohesive thoughts. By communicating through social media, texts, and emails, kids have lost the ability to think on a deeper level.
As parents, we should not feel defeated, but use the information about our children’s generation to help them excel. It is our duty to be intentional with our children. We need to lead by setting the example of putting down our devices and spend time modeling communication with them.
We too are guilty of not having meaningful communication as we get sucked into the world of technology and social media. Take some time to take a walk, go to the park, play some board games and have as many family meals a week as you can! These will be great steps toward helping your child be a successful communicator.
Visit allprodad.com for more posts and blogs about parenting.
Dr. Bryan Williams is the CMDS Head of School.