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Our Teenagers, Interpersonal Skill Development, Smartphones

We have a responsibility to our teenagers to equip them with skills to relate with others in a fashion that contributes to them having things the way they want. Many different skills and skill sets make up our complete repertoire of behaviors. From learning how to tie a knot, to drive a car, to shoot a basketball, to write a story, to interact with others to get our physical, emotional and social needs met. All skills/skillsets improve with right practice. All skills/skillsets improve with repetition.

We find the talking with others skillset within the much larger interpersonal skills skillset. All skillsets improve with right practice. All skillsets improve with repetition. Oh, I already wrote that! Because of the presence and use of smartphones throughout the lives of our teenagers, how they relate to their world changed drastically compared to all of us born before that.  In addition, it reduces the frequency of face-to-face communication. This, another important skillset found within the interpersonal skills skillset. The face-to-face communication skillset includes the talking with others skillset. As a result, this reduced frequency of face-to-face contact not only reduces the opportunity for right practice and repetition, it reduces the opportunity for real contact with others.

A strong sense of belonging contributes to an individual’s well-being. See an interview with Dr. Jean Twenge, the author of iGen. Born after 1995, the iGen generation spent their entire adolescence in the age of the smartphone. From the books’ website:  “iGen is the first book to document the cultural changes shaping today’s teenagers and young adults, documenting how their changed world has impacted their attitudes, worldviews, and mental health.”

Talking effectively (that is, facilitating communication and having needs met) with others, face-to-face contact, and all skills found within the interpersonal skills skillset contribute to one’s strong sense of belonging.  And (just one more time), ALL skillsets improve with right practice. All skillsets improve with repetition.


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