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|I think social networking is wreaking havoc on our children's social and grammar skills.
The other day I was on Facebook and one of those "likes" popped up. You know the ones I'm talking about...random thoughts like, "One day I was hungry so I ate some popcorn. If you like this click like." This particular one said something to the effect - 'We are all friends on Facebook but when we see each other in real life, we don't talk.' My first reaction was to laugh. Mostly because it is true.
The other day I was out with my family getting ice cream. One of my sons turns to his brother and says "Oh, that's so and so over there." I asked, "Are you friends with him?" The answer was, "On Facebook." My reply, "Aren't you going to go talk to him?" My son's answer, "No way. He's not my friend. I don't know him." Each boy manages to look in another direction so as not to make eye contact. Interesting, don't you think?
Here is another scenario for you. My kids send texts back and forth on their cell phones with our next door neighbors. Now they haven't had actual real face to face conversations with these people in years. Yet, every day there is conversation via technology. If they see each other outside in the yard, they each look the other way as if they were complete strangers. Never mind that they have been typing back and forth to each other for hours this month. Strange, don't you think?
In fact, the other day my children were sitting in the family room texting back and forth with the neighbors. The snowball man rolled up on our court like he does every Monday that it is above 55 degrees. (Mostly because just between 2 houses on our court he'll get 8 kids.) When my husband heard the music playing, he told the kids. "Snowball man is here!" But they wouldn't go outside because the neighbors (whom they were texting at that moment) were going to be going out and they were uncomfortable. Very weird.
Texting and Facebook allow our children to be very "social" without being "social." They have the nerve to say all sorts of things to a computer screen. But apparently are incapable of looking into human eyes and stringing words together. I am learning as a parent about this situation. I can't imagine what conversations will become in the future. Sometimes it's really important to have to look into someone's face when you say things. You need to see how your words affected them.
On my Facebook I have some 300 odd "friends." Now very honestly, if I saw anyone of these individuals somewhere I would be very happy to chat with them. Obviously, I do not have direct personal contact with everyone but those that are there are all acquaintances that I have a pleasant memory of or current relationship with. Nothing shady here. Yet I can look at these teens Facebook pages that can have up to 1,000 "friends." But am learning that they really wouldn't ever interact with them face to face.
Facebook has been used as a place where feelings and emotions, events and times, even your physical location are posted in a status out there for your "friend" world to see all day every day. Yet these teens wouldn't even so much as glance into the direction of some of their "friends" without feeling like they were complete freaks overflowing with embarrassment.
It's bad enough that texting, emailing and posting can very easily be misconstrued and interpreted completely differently than the sender ever intended. It's hard to really convey TONE in Times Roman phrases, without capitalization or punctuation and riddled with acronyms. There have been times that I have read something and thought - "Wow that was really rude!" But my kid will look at me and say, "What do you mean? She is joking." But how can you tell? According to my kids they do not need complete sentences, correct spelling, any proper grammar or punctuation to determine "how" someone is communicating to them.
So why do I teach my children to follow all of these grammar rules? Why did I bother to learn the SchoolHouse Grammar Rock songs as a kid? Remember songs like:
Interjections (Well!) show excitement (Oh!) or emotion (Hey!).
They're generally set apart from a sentence by an exclamation point,
Or by a comma when the feeling's not as strong.
So when you're happy (Hurray!) or sad (Aw!)
Or frightened (Eeeeeek!) or mad (Rats!)
Or excited (Wow!) or glad (Hey!)
An interjection starts a sentence right.
My reaction to all of this in teenage texting terms: "omg"
Could you feel my outrage? My teenagers would argue that they did...
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