Develop | Teenager | Skills | 14th October 2021 | Virtual Wire
Technology has changed the way we interact with one another.
The new social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are taking over old platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which for many people seem more like a place to maintain connections with old friends than make new ones. Technology is changing how we communicate, which has some unexpected consequences on teenagers' communication skills.
Some of these changes are good, but others are pretty worrying. There are also positive aspects of technology that need to be kept in mind - all-encompassing technology can lead to better jobs. But it is essential not to forget the adverse side effects of this ever-present digital world on our children's development and mental health.
Tip 1: Establish Boundaries with Social Media & Technology
You must establish boundaries with social media and technology. You need to be aware of how these tools affect your child and how you can ensure they stay safe. Be mindful of their physical and mental health. Social media use has been linked with increased mental health issues among teens, especially teenaged girls. The anonymity that social media provides makes some feel like they can say anything, and often the word that comes out isn’t nice. Teens may not have had time to understand the power of words yet.
They lack the maturity to know that the words they say have consequences. In order to help your teen, learn proper communication skills online, you should monitor what they do. It is also a wise choice to establish a pre-set age that your teen can go online alone with loosened restrictions. My teen son hates that I monitor what he does online. He argues that I am sheltering him too much and will not allow him to grow. My mommy explanation is that I am helping him grow because I am directing him to make wiser choices about what he posts online.
Tip 2: Encourage Face to Face Communication with Others
In order to get better at communicating with others, teenagers need to get out of their comfort zone and talk to people face-to-face. A teenager can make a new friend by going into a public place and creating conversation with someone they have never met before. They can also work on their general speaking skills by giving talks in front of a group of people on a topic that they are passionate about. A teenager could also participate in an extracurricular activity that requires a lot of public speaking, such as debate club or theatre club.
Tip 3: Listen Carefully - Be Ready to Hear What They are Saying
Picture -The New York Times
When I was a kid, my mom used to say to me, “You have two ears and one mouth because you are supposed to listen twice as much as you speak.”That is easier said than done for teens. Sometimes I look at my son, and I can see him thinking up his response when I talk rather than listening to what I am saying. But it should be expected because the teen years are self-centred by necessity.
They are developing an independent identity. As parents, we must remind them to close their mouths and hear others out. We need to try to work on our listening skills if we want to become better listeners. One way to do this is playing a game like “Telephone” or “What Did You Say?" which involves repeating what the person has said before responding. This helps us focus on what they’ve said, slowing down to process and holding the message in our short-term memory.
Tip 4. Speak Clearly intending to Connect Emotionally
We should be conscious of how others receive our voice and what it signals to them. This will help you to speak confidently and connect deeply with an audience. Speech clarity skills for teens are essential to building rapport with people, whether adults or peers. Clear speech should be considered as a necessary life skill that also benefits people who have hearing disabilities.
My other son has a disability that affects his speech and processing skills. It is not uncommon for him to need to repeat himself for others to understand. He sometimes does not recognize certain nuisances of speaking, like volume or speed. He also has issues recognizing emotion when speaking and displaying the appropriate reaction in response. Things like clarity, tone, and volume are ways we get our message across to others while speaking. Modelling these traits will help your teen learn how to emulate them in their speech.
Tip 5. Embrace Eye Contact
I hated looking people in the eye when I was younger. If you said something to me, my head automatically snapped down before I answered until my paediatrician told me that behaviour made me appear like I lacked confidence. Eye contact is not just a social convention; it is a powerful tool for communicating your message to the listener. Some people find it easier to make eye contact all the time.
Like many teens, making eye contact is difficult because they are shy or self-conscious about themselves and their bodies. Fortunately, we can learn how to use our eyes and related skills to help us communicate more effectively with our listeners. As we practise using these skills in more and more situations, we will gradually get better and better at them. If your teen can’t look others in the eye, have them sit in front of a mirror and practice looking at themselves while speaking.
Conclusion-The Importance of Effective Communication Skills
Picture -The Saurus
Teenagers are trying to break free from the little kid who needed mom or dad to make all the decisions. The need to be independent comes with the need to develop interpersonal communication skills. The prevalence of technology use during the teen years is an obstacle to learning how to speak to others face-to-face, which will be required as an adult. There are tips parents can take that will help their teens develop practical communication skills. Technology isn’t bad, but socialization is a human need. Face-to-face communication will never go away.