Screen Face: The Unfortunate New Face of Communication

I have noticed a trend over the past several years that has left me sad and disappointed. It really sank in while I was watching the 2012 movie 21 Jump Street. In the movie, young police officers were sent back to high schools, undercover, to fight crime. In one of the scenes, instead of texting, a young officer called a “high school friend” on his phone and she confusingly asked, “Why are you calling me”?

Similarly, my 13 year old daughter prefers to text instead of talking on the phone. When she has a question about her homework she will text her best friend. Silently I watch as they text back in forth for about 15 minutes trying to figure out what the other is talking about and then I can’t take it anymore. I tell her to pick up the phone and call her. That however is simply out of the question.

The trend is simple. I have noticed that younger people are slowly losing the ability to communicate with each other either face to face or over the phone. This results in frequent miscommunication and because we can hide behind our screens, we often text or email things we would never say face to face. Mixed messages, hurt feelings and a wasted time….sometimes texting is not the most efficient and effective way to communicate. If you cannot get your point across in one sentence then you may be better off calling or talking face to face.

Screen Face

Sooner or later we all have to have difficult, meaningful conversations. Don’t hide behind your screens. Communication skills are always at the top of the list when it comes to what employers are looking for and we are not talking about how quickly you can text. If you want to differentiate yourself from the herd then become a master of face to face communication. The skill is going away but the need for the skill is not.


By – Dr. Lee Grubb, Associate Professor Department of Management