Andrew Harmon



Urban Suburban Magazine - Education

Urban Suburban Magazine - Education - Back To School

Fostering Good Habits for Back-to-School

by Margarita McKissick

What do our youth really need for back-to-school? As parents some may think its clothing, shoes, book bags and supplies. Educators may believe our youth need the correct sized binders, pens, tissues, sanitizer and a host of other essential classroom needs. While neither one of these perspectives would be wrong – So much more is needed for back-to-school. What about social needs?

With social media and the epidemic of texting on the rise, our youth is losing its grasp on reality. Parents must pay attention and be more aware of their child’s activity, particularly their video gaming and internet usage. And those with cell phones who are still in grade school need to have their talking time limited; I mean really, what do they have to talk or text about?

I know many of you have heard the term - Getting back to old-fashion person-to-person communication, but what does that really mean? When I think of going back in time to do anything, it doesn’t sound too appealing to me. However, this is very different; it simply means to be able to interact in person… You know, person-to-person, something as a people we have lost thanks to emerging technology. With all the Texting and Cyber communications, children rarely talk to one another except during the course of the school year and that’s mostly because many are forced to interact with one another. The problem with this is – They don’t want to.

Why, because in most cases they don’t know how. Many of our youth K thru 12 were never properly taught how to interact with one another. In this day and time, they don’t have to have direct contact to communicate. At least in my day we had Bell telephone, but the texting have crushed that and diminished the usage of any verbal communications including on the cell. And what about the verbiage they’re picking up through texting. Our elementary and secondary students can’t spell simple words to save their life because the abbreviated versions of texting have destroyed any usage of proper grammar. Who’s correcting them, not the same person passing the abbreviated text, I hope.

Most children 5 years of age and under have been exposed to the Internet and many are independently playing video games and texting before they can form complete sentences. By the time they are 6 they’ve mastered texting, video game chatting, blogging, and FaceBook as a means of communicating with others. However, do they really know how to provide that same directness of communication person-to-person? As a parent or educator have you given this much thought when imposing social interactions? Let’s be clear though… This is ultimately a parent’s responsibility and at the end of the day, you are held accountable for any dysfunctional social behaviors your children possess as a result of too much electronics and Cyber communications. As a result, your children could very well develop into anti-sociable beings.

With or without education, communication in this world will always be a means of survival. Eventually these same electronic savvy children will have to seek employment. How will they cope with the pre-requisite of getting the job – The Interview? You do want your children to eventually move out of your home and get a job – Don’t you? We all want our children to survive at everything they do in life but some of us fail to realize that being able to interact person-to-person is monumental for a child’s social development and survival. Remember this the next time your child picks up his cell phone to text, grabs the remote to turn on the game, can’t leave the house without the handheld game, or argumentative about who’s next in line to use the computer.


Margarita McKissick has 15+ years of professional experience as a writer and public relations professional. She is currently working on her Ph.D in Philosophy (focusing on today’s youth), she earned her Master’s degree with high distinction in Public Communications at American University, and her Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a focus on radio and television broadcast from Cheyney University.




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