While most adults would agree that face-to-face contact is important, there’s no doubt that online communication continues to change how we find, form, and maintain relationships. But the truth is, teens have always had their own codes, slang, and shorthand that adults weren’t meant to know. Now, in addition to cool catchphrases, they have an arsenal of tools that can sum up a sentiment in one image. While we don’t want our kids to lose the art of conversation (especially at the dinner table), we can’t deny the power we keep in our pockets and purses that has transformed the way we connect — or disconnect. This is only a sampling.
Bots: If you’re familiar with Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana, then you know bots can eliminate drudge work. Bots live in other apps teens love, such as Kik and Messenger, but the Google Assistant from the messaging app Allo is unusually helpful to the busy teen. Assistant lets you choose from pre-written responses to comment on photos and continue conversations with a single tap. For instance, if a friend sends a photo of her new dog, you might get two response choices: “Cute Labrador!” or “Nice dog!” Though it seems easy enough to come up with your own reply, bots will undoubtedly be able to generate more complicated choices in the future based on the personal information it collects — all while booking your flights, ordering food, and keeping you on schedule.