Last week, Viet Nam News asked its readers about young people preferring online communication to talking face to face.
Here are some of their comments:
Young people have almost lost the ability to talk to each other face to face. They have become accustomed to texting and using Facebook to communicate with each other. This is a good way to communicate but when it comes time to meet and talk in person, they have difficulty in this once simple task.
In Viet Nam, I have met young students who panic when they are unable to get online to Facebook or other social networks. If you travel around Hoan Kiem Lake any time of the day and look in the numerous coffee houses, you will see many people sitting in a group together and, 90 per cent of the time, aren't talking to each other but are on their phones.
Similarly I have witnessed parents taking their children for a day out and then when they arrive at a park or an entertainment venue, they immediately sit and start to use their phones instead of interacting with their children.
Technology is a great boon to the world in general but we must teach our future generations to be able to communicate with people face to face or we risk becoming a society where nobody will be able to face another person for a good old fashioned conversation.
Le Trinh Khanh Van, Vietnamese, Ha Noi
I am 13-year-old student. I think that meeting face-to-face is better than chatting or texting online. My friends and I usually meet to talk with each other. I think when we talk face-to-face, we can show our feelings using eye-contact and body language. It's boring to stay at home and chat online. Let's spend more time talking face-to-face with each other!
Andrew Burden, Canadian, Ha Noi
A lot of my students don't know what job their parents have. Two of my private classes have students only within their extended family. Face-to-face is always better than a long-distance relationship.
If these new tech society kids don't learn to have family conversations with grandpa, grandma and other ‘white hairs,' then they will be lost in a sea of numbers at university and in the adult work environment.
If you take a selfie, (a self-portrait on your smartphone) and use social media, I feel sorry for you.
Pham An, Vietnamese, Ha Noi
People used to meet up to talk to each other but now it's not uncommon to see a group of friends hanging out in a cafe but all of them are looking at their phones. What's the point of getting together then? Stay at home and play with your phones. Family gatherings will never be the same. It should be a time for family members to talk to each other, to enhance family bonds.
Mobile technology, instead of being used as a tool to communicate and bring us closer, will divorce us all from the reality of our lives and our real relationships. Mobile phone companies are going to profit the expense of our personal lives, being buried alive in the digital mess we created.
Frank Berman, American, HCM City
Some would argue that it's no big deal. What difference should it make how we communicate, as long as we do so?
But I think the most successful communicators have the ability to do both, talk or text, and know the most appropriate times to use those skills. I'm afraid that more young people are losing the ability to have traditional face-to-face conversations that are vital in the workplace and personal relationships.
I'm not saying every one I meet is the same, but I have met those who don't look at me in the eye and have trouble with direct conversation. These habits will not serve them well as they enter a world where many of their elders still expect an in-person conversation. At the end of the day, nothing can replace face-to-face conversation and interactions. — VNS