“Touch Someone” response (9/19 post)

“Touch Someone” intrigued me. I remember learning about the history of the telephone in middle school briefly, but I learned about it from a purely technological perspective. This article made me think about the audiences that use telephones and how functionality influences advertisements. I never considered that the telephone had once been used for business and important message instead of sociability. Since coming to Emory about three weeks ago, I have used my phone for social reasons way more than I did over the summer or in high school. Now, I text my college friends asking if they want to get food or hang out. I text and Facetime with my high school friends for social reasons—I want to stay in touch and hear their college stories. And I call my family to chat. Without my phone, I would be a less social person. Saying that makes me sound, I think, extremely shallow—how can an iPhone, arguably a social media device itself, make me social? Shouldn’t I be talking to the 7,000 undergrads around me? Isn’t that the way to be social? Probably, yes. But I can’t deny that I need my phone to help me be social. Phones today have become much more advanced than what they were in the late 19th century, and their functions have also changed.

My mother has been teaching nursery school for over 15 years. Not a week goes by without her telling me and my sister at least one story about her “cute, little 3-year-olds.” I’ve heard stories about quiet kids who barely talk to anyone in the beginning of the school year. My mom helps these kids feel comfortable around people and in a new environment. She teaches them to interact with their classmates and make friends, something essential in everyone’s life. My mom also tells me stories about students who are violent to other classmates. In this case, it is important for my mom to help them learn how to act kindly towards others. This is necessary for making future friends and earning respect. Pre-school is a place where children learn the foundations of many life skills. One cannot create a strong circle of friends if he/she doesn’t talk or keep a friendly persona. I think that pre-school social and emotional programs succeed the majority of the time because I’ve heard that most of my mom’s students have greatly matured during just one year. In the cases where the students need additional guidance, there are more specialized child-development teachers.

In the case of the telephone, the public must learn to take something they know (a telegraph or a phone for business use) and change their methods. In the case of attending nursery school, the children are taught basic communication skills with little to no background knowledge.  However, in both cases, the telephone advertisements and nursery school teachers show people new ways to interact and remain social as they grow up.

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One thought on ““Touch Someone” response (9/19 post)

  1. It is interesting that you bring up the history of the phone and how its purpose has switched from primarily for business to primarily for socialization. I used to think that phones were a luxury and that they should be used for communication, therefore they wouldn’t play as large of a role in home life as much as in work life. When they were first invented, phones were mainly for wealthy adults, and I associate that with successful business owners or people who have a lot of money because of their occupation. Now the phone has become a very large part of socialization. Because of this, I don’t necessarily think that it sounds shallow of you to say that you would be less of a social person if you didn’t have one. In a way, highly valuing a phone can sound materialistic. The difference is, however, that you’re not valuing the phone itself but rather its job, which is to help you communicate with others. It is all relative, so in this case, if you didn’t have a phone, you would not be keeping up with the times and you would actually be at a disadvantage socially.
    I like how you brought up your mom’s work with preschool kids. There’s a critical period in the brain for different aspects of development, and because kids change so much within the first couple of years, this time is crucial for learning skills such as how to interact with others. Although these skills are introduced during preschool years, they are even more developed throughout elementary and middle school, and even high school. It’s so important for kids to figure out how to interact with others around them, and that’s why I get a little nervous when I hear of kids in third or fourth grade getting iPhones. I understand that they may need them for reasons like communicating with their parents, etc., but it also gives them a disadvantage because they will most likely find it harder to be social in the real world. I hope that people in the next generations will utilize the positive aspects of technology and still learn to have real social skills.

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