Fall 2014, Issue #8

Dec 2, 2014

Connecting in a Digital World

Coming off of the Thanksgiving holiday full of family…it got me thinking. Now admittedly, maybe I’m the only weirdo that thinks about this kind of stuff, but I’m genuinely curious (and slightly concerned) about the potential for a generational gap in knowledge. There has been a plethora of research focusing on working dynamics of four complete and separate generations in the current workforce (Silents, Boomers, Gen X, Millennials). Yet, less exploration has been focused/directed towards familial technological communication.

Consider the following premises:

  • Documented concern about the growing loss of conversational ability and empathy amongst young people. From Psychology Today to Time Magazine to my professional experience, I read and see first-hand the diminishing social skills of adult workaholics and college students alike that have been immersed in the thick of the digital/smartphone/social media generation. Hands down, many people today would rather transfer information digitally than through human interaction.
  • Complete disregard for the non-digital. The McCann Worldgroup Marketing survey from 2011 included 7000 people aged 16-30 in multiple countries. This is unbelievable, just wait for it. Over half of them (53%) would rather give up their physical sense of smell than to be digitally disconnected. These humans are willing to sacrifice the authentic real life experiences to maintain a synthetic digital life.

Our society (particularly younger generations) is more concerned with digital communication than the physical people in our literal world. Simultaneously, (and albeit stereotypically), the older generations are not as digitally connected, flashy, and tech-savvy. Therefore, will these groups continue to communicate beyond social niceties at familial gatherings? Or will the entire message be lost because it’s not transmitted in the flashiest way? This has the makings of a generational communications gap.

Yet, wisdom goes light years beyond media projection. Wisdom is far more than the transfer of information and the accumulation to data. We desperately cannot negate wisdom for the sake of technological relevance. This is akin to throwing the baby out with the bath water. Essentially this is a new version of the “ad hominem” fallacy. i.e. “you are not communicating in the most technologically relevant and current fashion, therefore, whatever you have to say will be outdated, old-fashioned and antiquated.”

As a society, we risk giving all deference to appearance over content in a very visible form (form>function). We’re slowly losing track of our history by being so enmeshed in the present. The newest and shiniest clouds out the truth of millenniums.

“Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”
- George Santayana, Reason in Common Sense, The Life of Reason, Vol 1.

With college students returning home (for many after their first semester away) there will be adjustments and potentially growing pains for students and parents. The holidays tend to bring out the best and the drama in our families. Your student may need space to remember and connect with their friends and the life they just finished for the semester. This may mean retreating towards digital communication and the incredible ability to digitally connect and share life across the country and globe.

Yet also, encourage your students to engage with the family, and intentionally consider their interests. Just because they may be off in the corner staring at their phone doesn’t mean they’re necessarily disinterested. They may simply not know how to engage well socially in the flesh, particularly with older generations. 

Maybe we haven’t been the best models on how to do this… perhaps a parent is the one in the corner, reading this on their smartphone. This street goes both ways. Invite. Invest. Engage. Give grace.  Laugh. Play games. Pursue health and balance. Make yourself and your family more compelling than a digital device.  

Dr. Kevin Grant
Assistant Dean, Student Development
Director of the Learning Center

Fall Commencement Activities

Fall Baccalaureate
Thursday, December 18, 2014
7:00 p.m.
Location: Calvary Chapel

Friends and family of graduating undergraduates are invited to a special worship service in celebration of God's faithfulness in the lives of our graduating seniors.

Undergraduate Ceremony
Friday, December 19
7:00 p.m. 

Due to limited space during the Undergraduate Ceremony, tickets are required for seating inside Chase Gymnasium. Guests, please plan to arrive 1 to 1.5 hours before the ceremony as all seating will take place on a first-come, first served basis.

For more information about Commencement, please visit commencement.biola.edu.

Amazing Things Happen at Biola University

YouTube star and Biola alumnus Zach King ('12), with the help of President Barry Corey, shows the amazing things you can do as a student at Biola. Watch the video here.

Traveling Home for Christmas

Finals week is December 15-19! Students should already be aware of their exam schedule, which was posted on their my.Biola class schedule and/or communicated by the professor. Biola does not offer rides to the airport or train station. Students are encouraged to post on the Classifieds ride share board on my.Biola, ask friends or roommates (offer to pay for gas!), or schedule a pick-up using an airport shuttle. Prime Time Shuttle and Super Shuttle make frequent visits and are familiar with campus. 

Order Finals Survival Sack by Wednesday, Dec 10!

You can encourage and bless your son or daughter during this intensive time of finals week and support Biola student ministries through participating in our Survival Sack project. The packages and encouragement notes will be delivered on Friday, December 12th. Order by Wednesday, December 10th. Parents, to by credit card, please call 562-903-4754. Have your message to your student(s) ready, and we will include on a personal card for them.

CCCA Advent Devotional

Again this year the Center for Christianity, Culture & the Arts is providing a free online Advent Devotional. Starting November 30th, you can join the Biola community in preparing your heart for the wonder of Christmas during the season of Advent. New posts will be shared starting Sunday, November 30th. 

Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639