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(Photo Source: sandisk.com)

We literally do not have to move or speak much, if at all, anymore…due to the convenience of everything being at the “touch of your fingers”. Got a question about vehicle parts? Google it. Looking for the latest story on politics? Scroll through your Facebook Feed, and weed out parody articles. While watching television, did you happen to run across an interesting new business? Type in a hashtag via Instagram, and locate their social media page. Not ONCE did you pick up a phone to dial a friend to ask if they could refer a mechanic; nor did you ask their thoughts on the latest in political news; nor did you ask if they have ever heard of said product on that television commercial. Your “digital island” has you secluded in a world of mere convenience…and social media is at the center of it.

But now…even with everything being accessible right from your cellular device…

Is Social Media Ruining Our Social Skills? Let’s tackle this for a moment.

Quite a few of us were aware of how to use the telephone-a landline at that-before Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram even hit the scene. So it’s safe to say that we aren’t “ruined” by social media, but maybe heavily “distracted” at times. However, think about this current generation. Have you chaperoned a teenager’s party lately? Next time you get this opportunity, watch closely. They will walk in, greet each other with hugs and handshakes, and EACH CHILD will find a section on a wall…then, out comes the mobile devices. From SnapChat, to InstaSnap, to snappin’ selfies, to going “LIVE” in everyone’s Facebook feed, they are completely lost in a social society…usually “popping back” into the real world to take a group photo/selfie/etc…then, back to their little island. Our youth now need someone to introduce the art of true communication, or else they will be “ruined”.

Social Media and “Adulting” is a little bit different, but sometimes not by much. Social Media has gotten so hypnotizing, that we are beginning to see an influx of restaurants requiring that phones be left in a bin near the maître d, so that people actually communicate with “each other”. Or, what about the popular meme, that asks “whose house are we meeting up at to play on our phones?” Classic. But very true! We now have to be distracted by board games, sporting events, and great food in order to put our phones down.

What can we do to change this behavior?

One, we can make the decision to place a phone call vs. sending a text message or DM (direct message). Let someone hear the inflections in your voice, instead of misinterpreting a message that could be read one of many ways.

Two, we can set a social media cut off for ourselves. Sounds crazy, right? That you would actually have to “turn your channels off”? Unless you are in the Social Media Management profession, you absolutely do NOT have to be on Social Media “all day long”. That is a choice, not a paycheck.

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(Photo Source: Moritz Fine Designs)

Three, we can make sure to engage in social media responsibly. If there is something that you need to discuss with a friend or family member, don’t air this grievance out via social media. You invite unsolicited opinions into a matter that had no business on a public forum, and it leaves room for the assumption that you are an “attention whore”…always needing validation from the public before you can make an adult decision.

Is Social Media Ruining Our Social Skills? Not necessarily…but it could, if you aren’t careful!