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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

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Readers Blog: Date Safe Project

Teenagers: Technology verses Words

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When teaching verbal skills, many Moms, Dads, and educators continually share how teens would rather text than talk.  To their credit, many teens are fantastic at multi-tasking and quickly absorbing technology uses to fit their lifestyle.  The unfortunate consequence is these skills are happening at the cost of losing one-on-one verbal tools.  What do you do?

Use technology to show the need for verbal communication! Send texts to your teenager which could be interpreted various ways (commonly happens when texting is done frequently).  This way, you are utilizing a medium they love (texting) to bring them to verbally discuss the confusion with you.  I know! I know!  Stop before you say, “The teen may just attempt to text back and say, ‘Explain’(or a slang text phrase in place of the word).”  Then, walk up to your teen and ask them what was confusing.

You OWN the confusion so the conversation is not about them misusing technology.  As you clear up the confusion, subtly ask, “How do you handle it when this happens with friends?  Misunderstanding each other’s texts?  Do you ever just call to clear it up quicker than texting?

If they say, “No,” follow through with, “Why not? Isn’t talking to your friends a lot of fun?”  Be GENUINE in your approach. No one likes to be lectured to.  Ask because you WANT to know (not just to make YOUR POINT).  The more you understand your teen, the more likely you will be able to connect with him/her verbally!!  Thus being a positive role model for verbal communication.

YOUR TURN: Share how you use TECHNOLOGY to HELP enhance the verbal skills of teens.  Ask us questions based on your own experiences.  I will answer each COMMENT personally!

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