Some students are now so lacking in basic social skills they have to be taught how to have a conversation on the phone, a communications expert has said.
Once upon a time, teenagers might have happily spent hours on the phone chatting to each other.
Now much of their time is spending sending message to each via social media.
Since the pandemic, concerns have been raised that their social development has been disrupted - but Communications Clinic Managing Director Eoghan Tomás McDermott said there were problems even before COVID.
“I remember we were approached by a university based in Ireland to do a training session for their students on having conversations on the telephone,” he told Lunchtime Live.
“They found that they were going into the corporate world and speaking on the phone, for example, was a skill that they just did not have.
“Because many of them just hadn’t done it before.”
Some universities now arrange icebreakers before tutorials, to try and make new students feel more relaxed.
Mr McDermott said many people lost their “social fitness” during COVID and it is a “wise” decision to try and help them get it back.
“It can be a nerve wracking situation at the beginning of a tutorial, or particularly early on in the semester, where you’re weighing up who everybody else is and you’re thinking, ‘I’m not sure I want to say anything in case I look like a wally,’” Mr McDermott said.
“Having those kinds of icebreakers can be very, very useful.
“You also have to remember there is a significant portion of people who are at university currently, who spent two or three years on calls at home trying to learn French, Maths or whatever.”
Main image: A teenager on the phone. Picture by: Alamy.com