Excess texts

By Daniel Rothberg

A few weeks ago, I was perusing the mail, when I stumbled upon an unnecessarily thick envelope. At first glance it did not seem important to me so I was inclined to put it aside; however, on a whim, I decided to see what was inside. It was my family’s cell phone bill. Looking through the bill, one thing in particular stood out to me; the number of texts I sent during the month of October. 300. I was appalled, thinking that there was no way that I could possibly send this many texts in one month.

However, after talking to friends, I found that the amount of texts that I send per month is meager. We are the first texting generation and most likely not the last. According to data released by the Nielson Company, teenagers in 2008 (ages 13-17) sent more texts per month than any other age group (and me): an average of 1,742 texts per month. I am not advocating for the abolition of texting. In fact, I love texting. In many cases, texting can serve as a quick and convenient form of communication in our hectic lives.

However, I do take issue with two side effects of texting that could potentially impede the growth of our generation. (And no, driving while texting is not one of them, although I do not recommend it.)

First and foremost, texting, like e-mail, simply provides people with an excuse to avoid conversation. Texting has become a way to dodge confrontation or “awkward” situations. This is a dangerous habit. Not only has texting (along with e-mail) led to less face-to-face interaction, but it has also led to a decreased number of phone call conversations per month. Avoiding actual conversation might work in high school, but what about when we enter the real world? Won’t we be hindered by our lack of conversational skill?

The second detrimental side effect of texting is that it distracts people from living in the moment. Instead of living in reality, people tend to have their hand glued to their phone, waiting for the next text to arrive. (I am by no means an exception to this trend.)

But, what irks me most is to see someone texting during a conversation or a dinner with friends and/or family. Besides it being obnoxious and disrespectful, it detaches you from the time that you are supposed to be enjoying.

If you are texting something trivial, it can wait a few minutes. If you are texting something serious, you probably should not be discussing it via text anyway.

Really, what are you going to remember in 20 years? The hilarious conversation you had with your family over dinner or the text you sent to your friend about the fate of “John & Kate Plus 8?”