New “Rules of Engagement” for Teenage Communication

In a brave new world of social media and wireless devices there are new rules of engagement for communication within the rising generation.  Here are some trends that are developing with today’s teenagers.  Click HERE for a link to Fuller Youth Institute article or here for the original article.  Or just suffer through my commentary on these 7 points.

(FYI, this write up doesn’t even touch the dinosaurs known as landlines and email.)

 1.    Face to face communication is tops among teens.

Despite what you may think, real interaction is still the best get to know a teenager. And they seek it out with people who offer it to them. Will you offer?

2.    They keep their phone calls brief.

Losing an understanding of the “unwritten rules” of the phone conversations, teens typically keep calls under four minutes.  Voice calls are considered more appropriate for adults.

3.    Video chats (facetime, skype, oovoo…) are becoming more popular.

From study groups, to roommates home on summer break, this is real face-to-face.  Non-verbal queues are conveyed here making phone/text deficient.

4.    Facebook and texting are important tools for dating. 

The relationship status on Facebook is a public announcement of the beginning and end of relationships.  Texting allows quiet communication in most any context. Beware.

5.    Teenagers use Facebook emotionally.

Adults use it as just another (possibly lesser) avenue of communication, while teens see it as an extension of real relationships.  The comments, statuses, and photos are a collective part of the relationships therein.

6.    The most common Facebook activities are “liking” and creeping.

That means checking out other people’s profiles without commenting…

7.    Mobile phones are the new smoking.

Not that phones cause cancer, but smoking was once a social tool for status and belonging, like your phone is now.


Why even bring up these trends in communication among teens?  Because Romans 10:14-15 reminds me, “But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!”

Are we doing all we can to effectively communicate the Gospel?  Are we speaking their language?

Teenagers are natives to the digital age, adults are immigrants.  Having been born and raised in a different culture, adults must intentionally learn how to relate to the natives we live among everyday.

Your fellow worker in the field,  Adam

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