I recently tried out an android phone, after using an old Nokia for what seems like ages.  The biggest difference was that I began to use SMS messages to reach people.  I think its easier than leaving a voice message, and faster than email.   On the other hand, I just received this note from a friend of mine.  I send about 100 SMS messages a month!  I can't image 6000!


Today, I took away texting. It was very painful, mostly for me but I realised that my daughter's approval was far less important than her future and since it is my job to help her realize her potential and not enhance the muscles that strengthen the use of her thumbs....I thought it was time.  

As I walk the halls of the school where I work, I see what everyone sees when they walk down any hall of any school and that is people, texting other people, while they walk together. Its a new kind of parallel play.  

It used to be that parallel play served as a precursor for social interaction and next to one another, children would play with blocks or dolls and they would listen in a sort of subconscious way to each other, learning to connect.   Now, parallel play means that people (not just children or young adults) walk the hallways of schools or the malls or lets be honest, their homes, texting other people.  

Other people.  Somebody else.  Why arent we happy with who is in front of us or next to us?  What is happening to our abilities to see each other for who we are in an interactive way that actually requires speaking? I mean, I love to speak.  Ask me a question.. I am dying to answer it or avoid it with language; it doesnt matter, I just want to talk.. but nobody wants to talk anymore. What we  want now are just words. In writing.  Big words, little words, made up words that werent ever words until we opted out of talking and now, words and non words are everything and language is shortened to a one syllable grunt that has no sound or expression.. it is powered by our ability to type fast, it doesnt ask us to reach into our emotions and sound like we mean it, since nobody is listening. 

So, I took the guess work out and left the praying up to somebody else on this.  I took away texting and I am hoping that the satanic jerk at verizon, who told me that 6000 texts a month is my fault, has a seizure and needs to use sign language for the rest of his life.  And my daughter, will need to speak.  

I will enjoy her sweet, melodic, screaming voice, utter words.  She will speak with power or hesitation or indifference or passion, but she will speak and her friends, her dear, text driven addicts, will have to speak back to her.  

It will be a blessing. 

I love you.  And I will love you harder than anyone you will ever know.  



Dov said…
I think this guy has a point, but it's not as simple a picture as he paints. To really understand what's going on, we need to truly pay attention to what kids are doing. There's a great study on this here that studies a lot of what teens are doing while texting.

For example, 90% of teens will text in order to tell people where they are, as part of getting together. 85% will text for what the report calls "micro-coordination," such as planning where to meet. Interestingly, in the USA minority teens use their cellphones for social chats, while non-minority teens use it more for coordination and location-sharing.

They also found that only 4% of teens said that they text and don't get together physically with friends.

All that said, bottom line, one out of three teens in the USA sends more than 100 texts a day. Half of teens send 50 or more texts per day. The numbers are through the roof.

A bigger question is whether kids (or adults) are less able to concentrate because we're always having parallel conversations. I'm not convinced of that - most people seem able to ignore their cellphone when in serious conversations. But it's a worry.

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