Staff editorial: Effects of the texting generation

It  has become a crucial form of communication for college-aged students like us. We do it during many activities, such as driving, bicycling, during class, while exercising and sometimes even in the shower. Everywhere we look, someone’s holding onto a cell phone and letting their thumbs do the talking. Even our grandparents do it.
According to a report from the Nielsen Company last year, American teenagers send and receive 3,146 text messages a month, which translates into more than 10 messages every hour of the month that they are not sleeping or in school.
The media is full of stories explaining how the American youth is too dependent on technology, how texting has become a huge distraction for us and how it can ultimately lead to severe issues such as unemployment. Just how bad is texting really? Isn’t it just a new form of communication like the telephone once was?
Although texting isn’t going to be able to replace face-to-face interpersonal friendships, it still changes the way people communicate. The real issue at hand is that people can hide from real human interactions behind walls of technology.
More than other forms of communication, the Internet and texting has become a lifestyle. You never have to leave “the grid.” In our parents’ era, with four television channels and a party-line telephone, you had to spend time with other youth and deal with the sometimes uncomfortable nature of growing up and getting along with people.
Today, kids don’t get that experience in this world full of advanced technology. Instead, people will admit over text messages things they normally wouldn’t admit over the phone or in person. For example, texting has made breaking up with a significant other a lot less personal. The world of texting can be so comfortable and safe, but you don’t learn anything real or worthwhile. Not to mention, language suffers because people have replaced writing out full words with acronyms such as “lol,” “btw” and “lmk.”
Unfortunately, we go to great extremes to send a simple text message. As soon as we get a text notification or alert, we have a desire to instantly read it- even if we’re on the road. We all know texting while driving is dangerous and wrong, so why do we do it anyway? And what will it take for people to stop? Having to pay thousands of dollars for someone else’s car damages?
Texting is a reality, and it’s not going anywhere. But with so many people hooked, the question is, how do you unplug and still stay connected? The answer is simple- use it in moderation. Don’t give in and make it an unhealthy obsession.

Editorials represent the majority view of
The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

January 23, 2011


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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