A millennial’s first few moments each day include the following: wake up, look for phone, can’t find phone, frantically tear all of the covers off of their bed until phone is located, exhales sigh of relief that phone is not lost, and promptly goes back to sleep.
A few hours later that same millennial sits with a room full of friends at a restaurant getting lunch. Instead of talking with each other, they are all staring at their phones. Now many people may argue that they are always staring at their phones in order to feed the need to stay “connected.” But is this focus on virtual connectivity taking a toll on actual face to face social skills?
Fifty years ago the only means of communication between people was letters, home phone, or just plain word of mouth. Nowadays the daily social interactions of someone look much different than it did even twenty years ago. Almost every social interaction can now take place in the virtual world
Studying with a peer, having a business meeting, even dating can now take place in the virtual world.
Even though the virtual world has helped propel out society forward a great amount, it is in fact taking away many of the human socializing instincts from the millennial generation. Many millennials wouldn’t dare go up and introduce themselves to someone without first having a virtual relationship with them. In addition to that, because so much of daily socializing that once took place verbally is taking place virtually with texting and other forms of messaging, many millennials no longer have the verbal skills they need to communicate.
So what can society do as a whole? What kind of action can we take now to ensure that future generations don’t continue this depreciation in social skills? Well for starters companies can stop encouraging optional presence in the workplace and start demanding face to face contact. Parents can encourage actual play dates and not just virtual ones online. The internet has propelled us a long way in the twenty years, but when the time has come that we can live our entire life by sitting in bed with our mobile phone or computer, it’s a sign that we need to put the devices down and head out into the great big world.
Business strategist and founder of IMPACTinsights.