Devices are turning teens into anti-social screen drones

This isn’t a “hey-you-kids-get-off-my-lawn” post, but it’s close.

From my totally unscientific anecdotal empirical research (can I even say that?), fewer and fewer people prefer to communicate face-to-face. Hell, people won’t even call on the phone anymore. It’s all about texting.

[Side note about something that grinds my gears: If I’m meeting you for something and you’re wondering where I am, DON’T TEXT ME. You KNOW that I’m driving to meet you! CALL ME ON THE FREAKIN’ PHONE so I can answer you via Bluetooth. When I finally show up, DO NOT say “Where were you? I texted you.” You flippin’ moron. Rant over.]

Take a look at this chart detailing how today’s teens prefer to communicate. Does no one value face time (NOT FaceTime) anymore?


[Another sidebar: Back in the day, request lines at radio stations were jammed with teens trying to make requests or win contests. Today, banks of phone lines go empty because no one calls anymore. It’s not that they’re not listening (ratings data says they are but because they won’t use a phone to make a call. Texts? We now get plenty of those.]

I find this kinda frightening. Read the analysis at Axios.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Devices are turning teens into anti-social screen drones

  • September 12, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    I’m not sure it’s valued less. I think there have always been people who didn’t value face time but had no choice but to participate in it because that’s the way things were done. Technology is now giving those people more options to avoid it. If you’re an extrovert, that probably looks like a bad thing – the way you like to do things is becoming less dominant. If you’re an introvert, maybe not – having the ability to avoid the thing you never wanted to do in the first place might be a good thing.

    I’m not shy, in that I’m not scared of talking to other people. But I do find small talk tiring. It doesn’t come naturally and I spend a lot of time wondering “Am I saying the right thing? Is this the face I should be making? Am I projecting the appropriate emotions for this interaction?”. It usually works out fine but it’s tiring and I prefer to reserve my energy for those I am close to. So if I just need a single piece of discrete information (“What time is the meeting?”) I will often text, rather than call or talk in-person, to avoid using up my limited social energy making small talk with someone I’m not close to.


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