They’ve perfected texting but teens need to dial the digits

Credit: Wikipedia
Credit: Wikipedia

Teenagers know how to text. They know how to multi-task — like eating a pizza, playing Xbox and listening to music. But many of them don’t know how to hold a business conversation on the phone and this might be hurting their chances for getting a job later on.

I teach journalism at Rowan University and coordinate the student-interns at companies all over the Philadelphia area. They intern at The Philadelphia Inquirer, NBC10, Philadelphia Magazine, Quirk Books, WXTU-radio, WTXF-Fox 29 and many other places.

At each company, they must conduct business on the phone. But this generation of students often lacks the skills for the task. The result is they are nervous at their internships and trepidatious when doing phone interviews for jobs after they graduate.

I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, with the black rotary phone on the kitchen wall of our house in Tacony practically implanted on my right ear from the time I became a pre-teen. I called my friends constantly, after my parents taught me how to say: “Hello this is Kathryn. Is Anne home?” If I needed information on something, my mom said: “Call and find out.”

My phone skills served me well throughout my career as a newspaper reporter. But my students are stumbling. They grew up texting and instant messaging. If they want to talk to their friends, they text them. They order pizzas online. They email us teachers about class assignments. If their phones ring, they don’t answer it and instead text the person later.

The result is many of my student-interns are apprehensive when they first get on the job. They write me weekly logs of their intern experiences and many describe being scared and unsure how to gather information on the phone.

Obviously, the Internet has changed how offices work. But some work is still done on the phone. My students who intern for sports at The Philadelphia Inquirer call coaches to get scores and stats. At South Jersey Magazine, they call local schools to find students who are “Stars of the Week.” At WTXF, they call public relations people to get details on upcoming events. But at first, many student-interns don’t know how to do these tasks.

So I am asking parents and guardians out there to work with your children on phone etiquette, skills and manners. Model for them how to make a doctor’s appointment, wish an elderly aunt “Happy Birthday” or call the cable company to complain about a bill.

You may need to text your teens to actually get their attention. But the end result will be worth it.

Kathryn Quigley is an associate professor of journalism at Rowan University and a Philadelphia native. She can be reached at kathrynsquigley@gmail.com.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.