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 Perth-based 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.