The other day I was sitting in my neighborhood Starbucks surrounded by the chatter of conversation and people hunched over their laptops or newspapers. At one table, however, something remarkable was going on.
As a college professor, I made a radical decision about a year ago: I banned smartphones and laptops during class. Honestly, I can’t compete with Facebook or an Internet flash sale or texts from friends. My students now take their notes the old-fashioned way with pen on paper. And it turns out that students who take notes by hand learn better.
Am I the only person left on earth who prefers hearing someone laugh instead of reading LOL? The 40-year-old man I've started dating must think I’m pretty funny because he texts me LOL a lot. In fact, he texts me all the time. His hearts and smiley faces look sweet on my cellphone, but the acronyms he uses often send me searching on the Internet for what the heck he is saying to me.
The medium is the message, Marshall McLuhan famously noted. And in a touch screen world, our relationships with our adult children improve with the more communications media we use. While millennials enjoy chatting on the phone or Skype, they also want parents to “lurk” on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media so we can follow (not intrusively, though) their lives.
The following is a guest post from William J. Hall, MD, AARP Board Member. Bill Hall is a geriatrician with a special interest in strategies for successful aging.
Search AARP Blogs