I was recently struck by the serious decline of face-to-face communication when I was socializing with some parents at a college football tailgate. One mom shared news about her college-aged son and his girlfriend’s break up. The mother was disgusted with the girlfriend, not because the two broke up, but because of how the girlfriend ended the relationship. After dating for almost three years, the young women ended the relationship by sending a text message stating,
[membership level=”0″]Want to read more? Join today![/membership]
[membership]“I don’t feel the same way anymore, I think we should break up.”
As upsetting as the situation must have been, this scenario is surprisingly common. According to a 2013 USA Today article, 59 percent of daters would consider breaking up with someone they dated casually by text message, and nearly one in four daters would consider ending an exclusive relationship by text message. This disturbing trend is seen among celebrities as well; in a 2013 interview with Katy Perry she revealed that Russell Brand initiated their divorce through a text message.
Not only are researchers seeing an increasing number of relationships ending via text messages, they’re seeing relationships begin with text messages as well. According to another 2013 USA Today article, one third of daters find asking someone out through text message less intimidating than making plans for a date over the phone.
The statistics suggest that face-to-face communication may become a thing of the past, especially when it comes to tackling serious conversations. Tweens, teens and Gen Yers, may not see this as a problem, but studies show that 93 percent of communication is based on body language, where only seven percent relies on what is actually being said. Interactions through text messages, emails or any social media platform are stripped of tone, body language and other nonverbal cues, opening the floodgates for misunderstandings.
With the growing use of technology, comes the need to educate our children. We must now teach our children which conversations are appropriate to have by text or email and which conversations they should reserve for face-to-face discussion. In a world where the click of a tiny keyboard is considered socializing, the art of conversation and consideration is in jeopardy.[/membership]