Teen Conversation. These two words together create a lot of reactions. I think it depends where you are in relation to teens as to your first reaction.
Many parents will just say the words conflict. Others will immediately think of the many uncomfortable, but necessary, parent and child conversations. I am not going there right now, don’t worry. Although I feel your pain, I really do, nor am I going to the required daily conversations like “how much of that did you spray on yourself?”
I am going to the seemingly lost teen activity of an actual conversation. Yes, I mean actual words spoken between two or more people for more than 20 seconds. Many parents of teens don’t remember the last time they witnessed their teen having a conversation. Most parents get the eye rolls, heavy sighs, or the emoji meant as a whole conversation.
I let my 2 middle schoolers play an online game through a game console with the rule: No microphone use except with friends they know in the real world. Usually the mic is off and I will hear mutters relating to their skills, actions of other players, and about certain features of the game. Recently I saw them switch off playing with a group of real friends. It was amazing. Without a texting option, they actually talked. Real conversations. Honest. They negotiated where to land, which team avatar to use, how long to play certain options, shared playing tips, asked for help, and the biggest surprise was when they discussed when they could do it all together again! Who knew a video game could provide conversation practice?
If we can keep conversations alive through video games, what other disappearing skills can we help? Snail mail? Read a paper road map? Well, at least we know conversation is safe from extinction for now.