Human Communication — The Art Lost In Habitual Texting

Phone conversations are fast becoming extinct. With the advent of text messaging, old-fashioned telephone call is starting to take the back seat, especially among the young.

Developmental psychologists who study the effect of texting are worried because aside from the fact that kids nowadays exploit technology too much, their interpersonal skills are also not yet well-founded. Most adults have already established social skills when they were first introduced to text messaging. In contrast to the teens, although adults’ conversational skills may have weakened over the years, it is still pretty much intact.

According to a TIME report, MIT psychologist Sherry Turkle is among the top researchers taking a closer look at the impact of texting on interpersonal development. According to Turkle, face-to-face conversations teach kids the art of thinking, reasoning, and self-reflection — much like having a conversation with themselves.

Take, for example, the texted apology. Turkle says that typing “’I’m sorry’ and hitting send” is a clear example of losing a lot in conversation when we text instead of speak. “A full-scale apology means I know I’ve hurt you, I get to see that in your eyes,” she says. “You get to see that I’m uncomfortable, and with that, the compassion response kicks in. There are many steps and they’re all bypassed when we text.” One of the advantages of texting is it makes the situation less painful — however, the pain is the main point. “The complexity and messiness of human communication gets shortchanged,” Turkle says. “Those things are what lead to better relationships.”

Habitual texters may not only rob their present relationships of something valuable, but they can also hamper their ability to create healthy relationships in the future because they do not exercise the art of seeing through nonverbal visual cues. This is the reason why kids are so easy to lie to — they are functional illiterates in the field of reading facial expressions.

Adults tend to be less afraid of conversations, but they have the tendency to avoid conversation altogether — just because it’s more convenient. Texting a birthday greeting to a friend you dislike means you don’t have to pretend you’re happy for her. Texting to ask what time a party starts means you don’t have to deal with the niceties that a face-to-face conversation usually requires.

Still, text messaging seems to be taking up a permanent place in our society. So, avoiding it is also not recommended. However, throwing in some face time via live video chat together with texting is a good idea. Turkle warns us that too much texting is tantamount to a life of “hiding in plain sight.” And mind you, this could lead to a life lived a alone.

Do you often find yourself texting too much and losing the value of relationships? How important for you is face-to-face conversation? Share your insights with us!

Image: Technology Uninhibited

Child Psychopaths — Are They Real?

The groundbreaking HBO documentary “Child of Rage” years ago showed how horrific abuse and neglect could turn a child into a psychopath. But what about the kids who aren’t abused? What about the ones who, for no discernible reason, do horrible things to other people?

Experts are divided about whether it’s right to label a child as a psychopath. On the one hand, their brains are still developing; since psychopathy is largely considered untreatable, such a label would carry a heavy, life-altering stigma. On the other hand, identifying “callous-unemotional” children early could allow for successful treatment — or at least a heads-up to society.

But reaching such a diagnosis can be tricky. Certain tendencies, like narcissism and impulsiveness, that are obvious signs of a psychopath are also part and parcel of childhood. And callous-unemotional kids are often extremely intelligent; they’re able to lie and manipulate without remorse, making it harder to understand what they’re doing and why.

In “Child of Rage,” 6-year-old Beth opens her blue eyes wide and calmly tells her psychiatrist how she’d like to hurt, and even kill, her adoptive parents — a Baptist preacher and his wife — and her biological brother. She’s calm and conversational as she describes how she has deliberately harmed and killed animals, how she drives pins into her brother and sexually molests him, how she repeatedly slammed his head into a cement floor and only stopped because someone caught her.

Beth suffered extreme physical and sexual abuse and neglect by her biological parents, which experts say could explain her detached, calculating demeanor and her lack of “a sense of conscience.” But some other “kid psychopaths” seem to have grown up surrounded by love and affection.

Some experts say that psychopathy, like other mental illnesses, may have a genetic component; others think that it is a neurological condition all its own, like autism is, though it’s not part of the autism spectrum. Though some psychologists believe one can start seeing psychopathic traits as early as age 5, there is not yet a definitive test for children that young.

In your opinion, is it nature or nurture that pushes a child to become a psychopath? Voice out!

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Parent 24