Bruce Sallan: While a friend and I were walking, we started talking about how our kids use modern communication and social media in their lives -- to often-destructive results.
The friend related the story of his 18-year-old high-school senior asking a girl to be his prom date ... via a text message! Fortunately for his son, the girl liked him a lot, and texted back, "Yes."
Later, when his son and date were making their plans, they discussed another good friend who was nervous about asking a particular girl to be his date to the prom. The son asked, "Should he text her?" His date's response was an immediate and emphatic, "NO!"
Now, my friend's son realized that he might've messed up by asking his date out via a text. He asked his dad for advice, and my friend suggested that he take his date out and -- formally, with flowers in hand -- ask her to the prom again. His son wisely took this sage advice, and his prom date was thrilled, saying "Yes" again -- but this time, with true adoration in her eyes.
Our kids are NOT learning how to communicate with all their tech toys. They're not thinking before they hit "Send." They're not really relating to each other when it's done in 140 characters with a tweet, or via e-mail, or via texting and its shorthand acronyms. Hell, I remember sitting by a rotary-dial phone, staring at it with a nervous stomach, trying to get up the nerve to call a girl I liked to just talk -- let alone ask her to the prom.
Do we really think, "ttyl, lol, WTF, brb, rofl, lmao, idk, stfu" are deep ways of communicating? My kids don't even bother with voicemail anymore -- they just see who called, erase the message, and call back if (or when) they want. This is communicating? They break up via text, they ask for sex via text, they say, "I love you" via text (with one of those stupid heart icons), etc.
I think this stinks. They're not learning the necessary skills to succeed in a work environment or with a spouse and kids. But what do I know? I'm just a guy.