Friday, December 3, 2010

What is texting doing to our youth?

I like technology.  I like gadgets.  I am not a technology wizard by any stretch but I am intrigued.  I do have growing concerns, I have to wonder about texting and what it means for our future, specifically what is it doing to our young people?  My teenagers should certainly go to medical school to study the human hand because the teenagers today will have carpal tunnel or other issues no doubt, when they approach 40.

So for example.  
I received a text at 3:05 asking when will I be at the “circle” to pick “him” up.
I text back,  I am leaving work in five minutes.  At 3:10 I received a text Ok.  At 3:13 I had a phone call.  Did you get my message? I am in the circle.   

Yes, I think texting is an amazing tool but it doesn’t allow for problem solving.  Answers are immediately given to correct a problem, report, reassure, advise.  Not that those things are all bad but sometimes waiting it out brings clarity, peace or in this case a ride home.  I can remember standing outside my high school for 30 or even 40 minutes waiting for a ride from my mom.  I would have to wait, no play by play, up to the minute update…. Just sit and wait and she will get there when she is able. 

My ride home with our teenager got even better.  He asked me to stop at a friends house to pick up a notebook.  My first reaction was to say you can walk over from the driveway (it’s three houses away) but to cooperate, I pulled into the friends driveway.  And my teenager sits and waits next to me in the car.  I pipe up, aren’t you going to the door? He responds, well let me text him, call him and he begins to fiddle with his phone.  I stopped him and ordered him to go to the door, knock, communicate, visit, smile.  All this and I know he had already text him at least three times saying we would be stopping by.

At the risk of sounding like my father who never lets me forget that when he was a kid he would walk to school for three miles, uphill, in a foot of snow, barefoot.  I will leave well enough alone and simply state, I am on to this technology stuff, my eyes are open to find ways to encourage old fashioned face to face communication skills – of course I may have to text the kids with instructions.

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