Mobile phones and social networking are here to stay, so adults need to teach children how to manage technology instead of fearing it, a WA academic says.
Responding to comments by WA business leaders that an unhealthy obsession with Facebook and mobile phones meant some children had lost the ability to communicate face-to-face, Murdoch University media, communication and culture senior lecturer Ingrid Richardson said such concerns were based on ignorance of the benefits of social networking.
Training specialist and Phoenix Academy principal Robynne Walsh told a _WestBusiness _/Australian Institute of Management WA CEO Voice boardroom lunch on Thursday she feared children used to communicating on mobile phones were missing out on social skills.
Dr Richardson said many older people were insulted when they saw teenagers looking at their mobile phones constantly, because they felt ignored.
"A lot of that is because young people don't really have any models by which to learn appropriate behaviour, because of the fact they are really the first generation to have all this communication technology available to them," she said.
Dr Richardson said there was no doubt that familiarity with online networking influenced the way teenagers communicated even when they were not online, which could lead to young people failing to use eye contact.
Instead of banning technology, adults should teach teenagers how to use it appropriately.
'Young people don't really have any models by which to learn appropriate behaviour.'" Murdoch senior lecturer *Ingrid Richardson *
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