We do it when we’re at home. We do it while eating. We do it in between classes– heck, we even do it during class. Teens glued to their phones is hardly a sight to behold nowadays. But why isn’t it?
Why is the “image” of a teenager incomplete without the cellphone in hand?
It’s so commonplace that you don’t really take time to think about it. I know I don’t. It wasn’t until this summer when I had to give my phone up for a week at a summer camp that I saw the repercussions of being too attached to your phone.
No kidding, girls were threatening to hurt themselves to get their phones back and complaints rang throughout the conference hall. “I need to talk to so-and-so” and “I need to check my Instagram” became the conversation starters for the first few days.
Being detached from the world suspended these teens in a limbo state where they were unaware of what was happening every second of every day on their favorite social media apps, and it terrified them.
“Texting can be an enormous tool,” he said. “It offers companionship and the promise of connectedness. At the same time, texting can make a youngster feel frightened and overly exposed,” said Michael Hausauer, a psychotherapist in Oakland, California.
The people at this huge conference, a leadership conference mind you, were rendered defeated at the confiscation of their cell phone.
Let’s bring it down to a smaller scale–school. It’s not enough that we get the chance to use our phones during lunch and during break, but we have to find ways to sneak the phone into class. If a chain-smoker couldn’t go two hours without a cigarette, you would call that an addiction. So what’s the difference here?
Texting ruins the allure of real face-to-face talk. You have a problem with a friend? Don’t bother confronting them. Just shoot them a text. Sure, you’ll miss out learning how to deal with conflict in real life, but arguing with someone is just so awwwwkward.
The problem is, when you hurt someones feelings, you see that facial expression and make connections on how to interact with people. With texting, you cut off that human aspect. Humans send a lot of non-verbal cues, foot-tapping and fidgeting, nail-biting and eye contact. Reading these signs is a skill we slowly lose by switching to textual interaction.
Heck, social interaction is slowly becoming a thing of the past. iPhones and Samsungs are quickly becoming an escape route in case any stranger might try to start a conversation.
But conversations take practice. What will happen to the next generation if they don’t know how to handle face-to-face talk with other people? The problem of texting needs to be weaned off the younger generations. Texting can make it that much harder for the kids that are already struggling with being social in the first place.
In a nutshell, texting is great for the little things. “Where are you” and “when should we meet” is a reasonable excuse to use your phone. But the unnecessary stuff, the little things, should be saved for in person.