Social Media for Toddlers?!

A company developed a social media tool for toddlers so that they can “post” their updates on the Internet and “communicate” with their friends in the network (as shown in the embeded CNN News video). This tool looks like a “brick game,” where toddlers insert the bricks with distinguished shapes into a corresponding box. For example, a squared block represents “I’m eating;” a circle block indicates “I’m brushing my teeth;” and a triangle block means “I’m sleeping.” The corresponding box is connected to the Internet so that the status will be updated within the toddlers’ network.

Today, I read a reflection paper on the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Education about the 15th Annual Graduate Student Research Conference in Hospitality and Tourism (Van Hoof & Mattila, 2010). One of the issues emerged in the conference is that many graduate students do not process good communication (presentation) skills. Related to this issue, I wonder if this social media tool for toddlers goes too extreme. If toddlers are “trained” to communicate without talking to each other, how can we expect them to conduct professional presentations when they grow up? Similarly, when student reply on e-mails, texting, Facebook, and Twitter for communication, they are not “trained” to talk or write in a formal manner. Their presentation and written communication skills will probably suffer.

Has lacking sufficient verbal and written communication skills become a problem for our young professionals? How serious is the problem? What can we do to help Generation Dot.Com improve their communication skills? Also, what are the responsibilities of Generation Dot.Com?



References:
Van Hoof, H., & Mattila, A. (2010). Observations on the 15th Annual Graduate Students Conference in Hospitality and Tourism. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Education, 22(3), 49-51.

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