The Importance of Communication
In our fast-paced lives technology certainly offers many benefits. In terms of communication we can have chats with many people at the same time on social media platforms. We can be always up to speed and in the know. Is this 21st Century Communication part of evolution? Is there a side effect? Should we be concerned?
Composer Libby Larsen said “The great myth of our times is that technology is communication. It puts up a great barrier between human beings leaving us yearning for intimacy.”
Closeness, eye contact, soothing words and empathetic conversations can only happen face to face, in the here and now. Is there a genuine risk that technology is damaging the very element of life it is trying to improve?
In order to learn language and social skills children need experiences. As children learn to speak, adults support their development through informal conversations, through songs and rhymes with movements, through shared reading and through the use of narrative. Asking children to discuss stories or real events helps children to develop their language skills, their thinking and understanding of the world, and lays the foundations for higher planning skills.
Children will always need to learn to speak. They will always need to develop physically, socially and emotionally. They will only be able to do that through nurturing, closeness, intimacy and interaction. A recent study commissioned by Save The Children revealed that 130,000 children each year in England alone are starting school unable to speak fluently and in sentences. Communication and Language difficulties are preventing children from making good progress in reading and writing. More and more schools are reporting children facing difficulties in spoken language.
One change in the last ten years has been the introduction and mass use of the smartphone.
We have all seen families out together in cafes sitting together but not talking to each other as the mobile phone has more pressing matters to attend to: emails, Twitter, Candy Crush, newsflashes, anything.
Children need language. They need conversations. They need to interact. Let’s be smart about how and when we use our phones.
Written by Chris Williams, edited by Partnership for Children
Chris Williams is the founder of chatta. Chatta provides training and resources to support children’s development in oracy and storytelling. Chatta’s main benefits are:
- Accelerated Progress in Early Language Development
- Removing barriers for children with Special Needs
- Supporting Children learning to speak English as an additional language.