16-24 year olds are increasingly losing the ability to communicate face to face – or even on the phone. Telephone calls are now the 10th most used function on a mobile phone. People who use their mobile phones for over 2 hours a day only spend 20 minutes actually speaking to someone on it.
Only 15% of them consider phone calls the most important method of communication compared to over twice that many who prefer instant messaging. In America 80% of millennials (born 1981-1997) felt more comfortable using text messaging rather than having a telephone conversation.
On the other hand 43% of adults over 24 years of age say phone calls are the most important means of contacting others, more than double the younger age groups.
Teenagers even prefer texting each other when with each other according to an Ofcom survey.
Ofcom said that respondents admitted to instant messaging, texting or e-mailing others even when they are in the same room. Just over quarter of adults did the same but the figures rose too 49% for teenagers.
Instant messaging services such as Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp are becoming more popular as wi-fi access becomes less of a problem as traditional texting is declining. Facebook Messenger claims to have reached 65% of the UK population via mobile phone and WhatsApp 47%.
When people are actually avoiding having a telephone conversation something is going wrong. But the statistics show that time spent on phone calls in Britain reduced by 10% between 2011 and 2016.
Phil Reed, professor of psychology at Swansea University and an expert on internet addiction is concerned that the increased use of social media can lead to isolation and loneliness (a theme I have posted about regularly).
He says “Friendship involves reciprocity and empathy, which social media does not lend itself to. Talking we can interact, interject; we present ourselves relatively unedited”.
It seems young people are losing the art of conversation which is important in life. Not just socially but going for interviews and in adapting to new settings.