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Added August 01, 2013

Texting Too Much

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You are slouched in your chair, shoulders hunched, hands under the table, not seeing or hearing the chatter going on around you. Your focus is the cell phone in your hands, not the people at the table. You type something, then wait, then type again. Immersed in a digital world and a virtual conversation, the real conversation taking place in the real world doesn't capture or hold your attention.


Sound familiar? The average teen sends or receives over 2,000 text messages a month and spends nine hours a week on networking sites. Experts are worried that when in-person, face-to-face social interaction takes a backseat to twitchy, impersonal and detached communication, you miss out on the important subtleties that come with a verbal discussion. Looking at a smiley face in an email isn't the same as seeing an actual smile on an actual face. And lately, many fear that this totally connected life, which includes email, blogging, IM, and tweets, shortens attention spans, narrows world views, damages our ability to communicate, and leads us down an unknown, dangerous path.


Recently the Wall Street Journal reported that teens admitted spending nearly an equal amount of time talking as they do texting, saying texting offers more options, including multitasking, speed, privacy, and control. The Pew Internet and American Life Project found that only 35% of teens surveyed listed personal human interaction as an everyday means of communication, making face-to-face communication the second least popular option for communicating among wired teens, coming in right above emailing.


Why is this a bad thing? So glad you asked. This phenomenon is beginning to worry physicians and psychologists who say texting too much is leading to anxiety, distraction in school, failing grades, repetitive stress injury, and sleep deprivation. If those aren't reasons enough to limit your technological conversations, here are some more negative effects of having conversations, one line at a time.


The blinking, flashing screens and brief amounts of text conditions our minds against quiet, concerted study. If something next to you is vibrating every couple of minutes, it makes it difficult to experience peace and quiet. The tremendous interest in knowing what's going on, coupled with a terrific anxiety about being out of the loop, leads to the pressure to answer immediately. With what researchers call the continuous partial attention, demanded by your cell phone, if you're in the middle of a thought, forget it.


When you are texting too much and not "reading" each other's posture, hand gestures, eye movements, and facial expressions, healthy relationships suffer. Body language imparts feelings, attitudes, reactions, and judgments in a completely different register than the written words alone. A lot of meaning is lost without the verbal and visual elements of a conversation. That is how we learn our language and how we best understand it.


When you spend all your time texting too much with your peers, there's little room for learning about politics or reading Jane Austen. There's no time to learn from the adult voices who have always ushered teens into the mature world, who have always taught the difference between right and wrong. With only your friends as your guides, growing up becomes a much more dangerous process.

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comments so far
Posted June 16, 2014
Then that means... I shouldn't be on here right now or else my attention spand will get shorter and shorter... So yeah, Bye!
Posted May 02, 2014
Ha! I'm sorry, still gonna stay the way I am. It is the magic that is me :)
Posted January 11, 2014
I have a cell and it is all good, but I do not like to text all too much because then really soon the cell phone bill will be too high. I had to help may a bill that was 5 thousand dollars one time and my family didn't like that. So I don't text much any more. I can text only little words nothing too big.
Posted November 20, 2013
I don't have a phone to text... Why did I even read this???
Posted July 18, 2013
i text but not so much i am not too interested on this thing a whole lot
Posted March 29, 2014
If you worry about the bill going too high from texting, try making an account on Kik Messenger and text your friends there. It's better, and it shows whenever they are typing. It also includes smileys, and you don't need to submit a phone number :) x
Posted September 22, 2012
I used to text like crazy' but its a good thing i've stoped. Thank God i met this article to read.
Posted August 23, 2012
i text SOOO much when i have time; however, when im hanging out with friends or stuff like that i dont like texting because i feeel disrespectful, I think this is a good thing :)
Posted September 20, 2012
Whenever my friend comes over, she's always texting or on instagram and it's sooooo annoying! I mean I love her but she's really annoying me!
Posted April 29, 2013
I spend about 5-6 hours a day on social websites. Life of a fangirl.
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