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As we spend more and more time with our noses pressed to a screen we get more and more stupid,communication is the essence of life.Real conversations face to face that is life.

Meghan Cosgrove

When communicating with another person face to face, not just words form the conversation. The tone of voice, laughter, touch, staring of the eyes, mood from the environment, the surroundings, and posture, etc. all constitute the conversation. There is data everywhere, all around us to be taken in. We live in an era where we are engaged in communication all the time whether in texts, emails, phone calls, or Facebook, etc. Turkle while researching for her new book provides examples of the conversations people are having today in society, from the “pair of high-school-age girls walking down Boylston Street, silent, typing, the table of brunchers ignoring their mimosas (and one another) in favor of their screens, the kid in the stroller playing with an iPad.” We are communicating all the time, now more than ever. However, the difference is we are talking at each other rather than to each other. All this talk comes at the expense of conversation. It is a two way street that involves a connection from one another. Garber translates Turkle’s perception of conversations saying, “Conversations, as they tend to play out in person, are messy—full of pauses and interruptions and topic changes and assorted awkwardness. But the messiness is what allows for true exchange. It gives participants the time—and, just as important, the permission—to think and react and glean insights.” In the Boston Apple Store, filled with products of connection, Garber sees conversation all around from kids playing games on iPhones, customers getting tips from T-shirted workers, and people chatting as they stare into screens either enormous or comically small. Turkle surveys the atmosphere, pointing out the airy space, streaked with sunlight, bustling with people, and thunderous with the din of human voices. However, all that the people are talking about is what is going on, on the screen of their machines, even though there is so much more to engage in with one another and all that is going on around them. They are “Alone Together.”
I think with the high demand use of technology my conversation habits have become affected by “screen habits.” I know that many times over text messaging I misjudge what people are actually saying to me. I interpret things the wrong way. I may mistake constructive criticism as unwanted judgment. Recognizing this, however, I have learned to be more open to what someone may say or text me during conversation. To be more attentive or engaged during face-to-face conversations, I try to listen more. This includes repeating back what someone has said to me or using the “I heard” statement. I never used to be satisfied with my conversations, but taking part in family therapy and communication courses I definitely now am more satisfied. I use to wait for a minute and if someone did not text me back right away I would be annoyed. After reading this article, I was enlightened to learn pauses, moments to let the person take in what is being said, is a significant part of conversation. It lets you know the person is really listening not dismissing you.
I agree with Turkle. We should put away our devices in sacred spaces like the dinner table. This is crucial because an active part of conversation is listening. How can that be possible if we are constantly interrupted with a phone call or text from someone? Wouldn’t it be considered rude if we were engaged in a face-to-face conversation and were stopped for a moment by a stranger face to face, to talk to them while the other person was standing right there? So why shouldn’t that go for phone calls and texts as well. “The Internet is always on. And it’s always judging you, watching you, goading you. “That’s not conversation,” Turkle says. This is a great example of what is considered conversation today, but I say it’s not conversation as well. We cannot ask why the person says this, or where their information came from, or why their feeling what their feeling. We cannot get the full message across because there is no tone of voice, or look in the eyes, or posture to understand what that person truly is saying and feeling. There is no connection.

Vinita Santiago

Modernized communication has obviously increased in its frequency, but has been diluted by the way it is expressed. Everyone is utilizing some sort of mechanical device to converse. This proves the personal aspect of face-to-face interaction to be a skill that younger generations will struggle with in the real world. Lets face it, the world of acronyms and abbreviations is not adding to the development of strong written and verbal language skills. People are more comfortable sending a text, than speaking in person or even on the telephone. As Turkle suggests, in order to have conversations that are “supremely human” the use of electronic devices in everyday life needs to be regulated to certain times and places. I agree with Turkle’s view on this topic because ultimately, what is at stake here is the communicational abilities of current and future generations.
Parents need to be effective communicators. My husband and I are committed parents and feel that we try to raise our children responsibly, provide economic support, and most of all having three girls: emotional security. In order to provide these things we have make ourselves available and spend the right kind of time interacting with our children. The most important aspect is communication, both verbal and non-verbal. These skills will help our children become successful adults, especially in their careers. For instance, you never hear of a person getting hired who didn’t make proper eye contact or speak in a well-versed manner. These are skills learned in everyday interactions with the people closest to us.
Although there are many devices in which to support this theory, I will choose to elaborate on a widespread commonality among all families: the use of cell phones. Clearly, cell phone use has increased over last decade. I believe it is safe to say that mostly every household is in possession of one. This is an example of an external factor that has changed the way families and people communicate. Many families spend more time on their phones then they do in actual conversations or interactions. For example, there are many times I pick my daughter up from school and the parent is on the phone the entire time. The child is just lingering behind and there is no social interaction between the parent and child. This became such an issue that the school had to post up a sign on the door that read “ Put away your cell phone, your child wants you to ask how their day was”.
This commonality among cellphone use and families has become such a trend that people see nothing wrong with it. In fact, the whole perspective on family time has changed to limit personable moments and increase device usage. Clearly, reducing the way in which electronic devices are incorporated into everyday life can have a beneficial effect on the humanness that communication is associated with, but the struggle comes with breaking the unconscious awareness that people are lacking to comprehend. If people become mindful about when and where they indulge in device use and encourage “phone free zones” the communicational skills of generations to come may have a chance.



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