Face Off: do food delivery apps affect teenagers’ social skills?

YP ReporterVeronica Lin

Each week, two of our readers debate a hot topic in a parliamentary-style debate that doesn’t necessarily reflect their personal viewpoint. This week...

YP ReporterVeronica Lin |

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Does getting food at the touch of a screen make you worse at talking to people?

Cedric Li, 18, Harvard University

Yes, I believe so. Back in the good old days, if one wanted to eat a pizza on a cold winter’s day, one would have to get of bed, put on at least three layers of clothes, and trudge through the icy weather for a good 10 minutes before reaching the nearest restaurant.

Nowadays, with a few taps on your smartphone, you can have the food delivered to your doorstep within 30 minutes. Food delivery apps such as Food Panda, Deliveroo and UberEats have made life very convenient for teenagers, but this has come at a great cost – their social skills have been badly affected. Instead of dining together with our friends and peers, the fact that we can order food directly to our homes severely reduces the amount of time we spend with them.

What’s more, we need to practise our social skills so we can interact with people well. It is only through meeting others and communicating with them can we learn how to get along with people and become a responsible member of the community. There will be many awkward situations, but we need to face them head on and learn to feel comfortable in society.

Thanks to today’s technological advancements, we have the option to withdraw from society and live in our own little world. But this is not how we should live our lives.

The more we rely on food delivery apps and social media in general, there will be a day soon when we realise that we will need human interaction for our very own survival.

Veronica Lin, 18, Berklee Online

Food delivery apps play such a minor role in our lives. Ordering food on delivery apps such as Deliveroo or Food Panda has never been a main source of human interaction.

We’ve all been taught from a very young age to never talk to a stranger, and the staff at restaurants are certainly no exception. It’s a cliché and it’s true – it really isn’t in our best interest to share our life stories, struggles and heartbreaks with a complete stranger. The only interaction I have with food delivery staff begins with “hello” and ends with “thank you”.

The whole purpose of ordering takeaways is not about wanting to hire a temporary friend like the food delivery man for us to talk about our problems or other issues. It’s an instinctive move which helps us to meet our basic needs, such as food, water and shelter.

Also, just because we order food online, it doesn’t mean that we have to eat alone and there’s less communication with our friends.

For most of us (especially teenagers like myself), food delivery is not an option but a necessity.

Whenever I have friends who come over to my place for lunch or dinner, I always use food delivery apps simply because I don’t have the time to cook or clean up afterwards.

We all need to embrace new technological advancements which save us a lot of time and effort. This, in turn, will give us the motivation to focus on important issues in our lives.

Edited by M. J. Premaratne