Phone-age kids taught man­ners

The West Australian - - OPINION - Kate Emery

Perth chil­dren are sign­ing up for eti­quette lessons amid con­cerns tech­nol­ogy has left some un­able to grasp the ba­sics of so­cial in­ter­ac­tion.

The classes, which cater for chil­dren as young as six as well as teenagers, cover the ap­pro­pri­ate use of tech­nol­ogy such as when it is rude to text and why mo­bile phones at the din­ner ta­ble are a bad idea.

How­ever, they also cover the fun­da­men­tals of so­cial in­ter­ac­tion, in­clud­ing hy­giene, lis­ten­ing skills, hand­shak­ing and din­ing eti­quette.

Aus­tralian Fin­ish­ing School di­rec­tor Amanda King said tech­nol­ogy had led to a rise in so­cial anx­i­ety and cre­ated a gen­er­a­tion of peo­ple “who lack the fun­da­men­tal skills to in­ter­act and en­gage face to face with con­fi­dence and ease”.

“When young adults are grad­u­at­ing from school and univer­sity, most do not have the nec­es­sary skills to be com­pet­i­tive for em­ploy­ment,” Ms King said.

“We want to build a gen­er­a­tion of well-man­nered, re­fined young adults.

“We teach the im­por­tance of ap­pro­pri­ate us­age of tech­nol­ogy and rep­u­ta­tion man­age­ment.

“Hav­ing phones at the ta­ble while hav­ing lunch or din­ner is a no. We in­sist on teach­ing our stu­dents the im­por­tance of face-to-face com­pany and if we are re­quired to be on our phones to an­nounce this with tact prior to be­ing seated.”

Syd­ney-based AFS is hold­ing a one-day work­shop for Perth teenagers this month at Como The Trea­sury, as well as a two-day pro­gram for adults.

Re­cently opened Perth­based eti­quette school Aust­mont Akademia runs classes for chil­dren on so­cial and din­ing eti­quette. The classes cover top­ics such as per­sonal ap­pear­ance, how to an­swer the phone and ap­pro­pri­ate gift eti­quette.

Aust­mont founder El­iz­a­beth Soos said though eti­quette ser­vices were big busi­ness over­seas there were rel­a­tively few of them in Aus­tralia. The aim was to give young peo­ple con­fi­dence for var­i­ous sit­u­a­tions by teach­ing de­port­ment, in­ter­view tech­nique and din­ing eti­quette.

Aus­tralian Fin­ish­ing School di­rec­tor Amanda King.

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