Breaking the Ice: How Communication Is Changing

How has communication changed? Is it dying?

How has communication changed? Is it dying?

Communication is most unique in humans as we’ve created languages and built our societies around them. It has certainly changed over the past millennia and has even changed quite a bit in the past couple of decades. Even putting aside the addition of the World Wide Web, the changes to the social world have been very extensive, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, it appears our communication is changing in a way that could negatively affect the citizens of the United States.

It’s likely, at one point, that most of us have heard an older individual speaking of how “in their day” kids would play outside and be healthy. Today, they seem to be glued to their phones. It can be argued, however, that these phones are granting people new ways to access communication with people. Moving back 100 years ago, you’d need to write a note to talk to someone in a foreign land; today, however, with just a few button clicks you may talk to people from all around the world. These people may hold some significance to you, or they could be complete strangers.

This brings up the topic of safety. As stated, it’s as easy as a click of a button to speak with anyone, even someone you’ve never met. While most people met online are virtually harmless, there are people who seek to harm others via the internet. Parents are particularly frightened as predators now have access to their children via the Internet.

Aside from our new communicative abilities granting a new way for people to hurt others, our technology also changes the way we speak to other people. It’s much like being in a car and getting angry at another driver. Many people overreact and act in a way they never would if that person was standing face to face with them. The way people interact with one another online is much less censored because people have a sense of privacy. In the real world, if you begin to mindlessly insult a person, there’s a chance they’ll violently retaliate, but online, there are no repercussions, meaning that interacting with people online may result in a more toxic and anger fueled conversation than you would normally have in real life.

While communication has certainly changed with the evolution of technology, it’s also differentiated outside in our everyday lives. A 2015 report by City Observatory showed that Americans have been spending less time with each other. This could be because of a variety of factors such as technology, population, and an interesting factor brought up by the report: that Americans have become less trusting.

Compared to the rest of the world, America actually seems like a relatively non-social environment to some. When asked in an interview how communication is different in other countries, specifically Mexico in this instance, Sra. Croft, language professor at Air Academy High and someone who has traveled to many different countries, replied with some interesting statements.

“I feel like communication and conversations are more authentic in Mexico,” Croft said. “People there take life less seriously and are more easygoing.”