Social Skills Under Threat as Texting Becomes the Norm

      November 15, 2013 08:21

      An increasing number of people only seem to want to communicate by text message these days, with many people in their teens and 20s avoiding talking on the phone as much as possible.

      A recent survey by a portal site showed that four times as many people use their phones to only send texts compared to those who often make calls. The majority of respondents were teenagers and people in their 20s.

      The situation is similar to that seen in other countries. According to a survey by America’s Pew Research Center last year, 31 percent of cell phone owners in the U.S. preferred sending text messages to making voice calls. People between the ages of 18 and 24 were more comfortable with the former, saying they exchange an average of 109.5 messages a day.

      Experts say the main reason why young adults feel more awkward talking on the phone or meeting face to face is because they are used to communicating in a virtual world.

      "These days, when students get into groups or engage in a team project, they sometimes submit their assignment after communicating via messaging services or social networking sites without meeting even once," said Lee Myoung-jin, a professor of sociology at Korea University.

      "They have come to believe that they only need to communicate online, and more people are avoiding direct social interaction in many cases altogether. It's like virtual communication has pushed out real-life communication."

      More people are also hooking up and splitting up via text message. Some Internet broadcasting sites have even started a service to deliver such messages to their intended recipient via popular text-messaging services. Listeners can, for example, send their request to the station and have the host forward their message to the person concerned via social networking services like KakaoTalk.

      "While telecommunications technology has developed very quickly, people don't know how to communicate with others properly using the technology, and this may have caused some problems," said Lee Gun-ho, a professor of media studies at Ewha Womans University.

      He added that some schools overseas even have a class teaching students how to have a conversation in person or ask opinions over the phone.

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