Did you say something? I was busy textingTuesday, June 02, 2009 By Sadie Remington
The increased use of handheld electronics is affecting the communication skills of American teens. Whether by texting or listening to iPods, such preoccupations can keep people from truly engaging in conversation. In modern day America, many people use their cell phones for texting rather than calling. As convenient as this may be, it can have unfortunate effects on social skills, especially for children and teenagers. Texting means that teens can’t hear or see how the recipient reacts to what is being said, or more accurately, typed. Not only does that make it easier to misinterpret what’s being said, but this prevents teens from ever learning the art of reading body language. Elements of speech such as sarcasm or exaggeration need to be supplemented with gestures in order to be comprehended. Instead of interacting with others and their surroundings, teens today are focusing more on their cell phones and iPods. Students are so preoccupied with texting and listening to music that their performance in the classroom also ends up suffering as a result. People will often text things that they wouldn’t be brave enough to say in person, whether it’s a cute greeting or a potentially offensive comment. More importantly, by constantly texting, teens will never learn important life skills, such as summoning the courage to say something difficult to a person face-to-face. It is no secret that texting has become an incredibly time-consuming activity in the lives of teens. Teens not only text in their free time, but also during their jobs and even during class. Teachers don’t catch a lot of texting going on during class time, and even if they do notice some don’t care. Teens also have become pretty good at glancing around really quickly to make sure the teacher isn’t walking toward them. Perhaps we’ll start evolving so we can look at our cell phones and iPods with one eye and look up with the other. But no matter how we look at it, texting is creating a long term problem that we will not be able to ignore in the future. Texting is not helping teens become more social. It’s making them less interested and interactive with the people around them.