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Teens, young adults and texting: is it out of control?

Img src: Free Digital Photos. Photographer: wishedauan

One of the topics I talk about a lot here at Tablet Of My Heart is “passion.”  Usually I’m referring to your calling from God. 🙂  But today’s generation’s passion is texting. Yesterday’s generation was hooked on t.v. or the internet; today’s teens and young adults are addicted to texting. A study by the Nielsen Company shows that Generation Y sends and receives an average 2,2772 texts a month – about 80 texts a day. In fact, they do it so much that they hurt their thumbs, sometimes causing  repetitive stress injury.

Our youngest daughter Leah doesn’t have a cell phone (yet!). But 75% of teens today do have one. A lot of parents restrict their teen’s cell phone use. Many schools forbid cell phone use, and students are hiding it by texting under their coats or desks, or pretending to get something out of their backpacks.

Young people aren’t the only ones texting; we’ve all heard the jokes about grandma or grandpa being on Facebook and having a new Smart phone. The media reported that prior to election, President Obama was addicted to his Blackberry, and he said they would have to pry it out of his hands for him to give it up due to security reasons (he got his way and kept it).

Most teens and young adults would feel like it’s cruel and unusual punishment to take away their cell phones because texting is THE way to stay connected every day with their friends. Friends are so important to Generation Y that they will choose a job just to be with their friends. Texting is how they “talk” now. Any time our grown daughters Heather and Eden visit us here in our home, they are constantly on their phones, texting friends and updating their Facebook status.

And they text fast. When I bought my red cell phone at the Sprint store a couple years ago, I was amazed at how fast the (Generation Y) salesgirl texted as she demonstrated the phone’s QWERTY board feature. I type pretty fast on my laptop, but her fingers were flying. Part of the reason for this speed on their cell phones, of course, is because they don’t spell out words when texting. They just want to get to the point.

Some people are concerned that texting has almost become a language in itself, or is something that young people do to avoid their parents, to shut them out, or to hide things from them. One time I commented to our middle daughter Eden that I didn’t know WHAT they were talking about sometimes, because they texted and talked in unfamiliar “textese.” It was like a secret code. She smiled almost deviously and answered, “Why do you think we do it?” Our oldest, Heather, will use “txtspk” sometimes when she’s frustrated. “OMG!” she will say.

Would you pass a texting test? Maybe we as parents need to start learning the language!

Critics of texting say it’s creating bad spellers, but some studies show that it’s had no effect on spelling. I don’t think it’s making bad spellers. I believe it’s simply an abbreviation of English, like “puter” for “computer,” and agree as long as our kids know how to read and write well, it’s simply a form of playing with language. Think of how often we use slang in our conversations, instead of our formal English language. It’s comfortable and quicker than the textbook English which foreigners outside the U.S. are taught to learn English. “Txtspk” is just another form of slang.

I text, too. In fact, I prefer it so much more than chatting on the phone because it’s fast and it saves a lot of time. But my main concern has been about people texting while driving, which is a huge safety issue. Parents also should probably monitor their kids’ cell phones to ensure their safety, with today’s dangers of “sexting,” their friends sending inappropriate pictures, online strangers having their number or texting them, etc.

I also don’t like it when I see people texting in church, or couples texting when on a date with each other. People have become absolutely addicted to their cell phones. Aren’t God or your mate important enough to focus on right now? Can’t your friend wait just an hour?

Nothing should take the place of our intimate relationship with God, and our spouse deserves our undivided attention on a date!

I agree with an article from Pew Research which described cell phones, especially texting, as a “mixed blessing”. What is your viewpoint of texting? Do you think it’s good, bad – or has become out of control? Are your kids – or you – addicted to it? Please leave your comments below – without it being in txtspk. 🙂



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  • Reply Beth Jones July 17, 2011 at 3:32 am

    Wow, 13,500! That is amazing! Even 250 is a lot! Sometimes parental interventions are necessary in situations. 🙂  Thanks for commenting – that number just floors me, but it probably is not that uncommon today!

  • Reply MomOfAFlock July 17, 2011 at 12:53 am

    We recently checked the log with Sprint to see how many texts our kids were averaging each month.  I had one SUPER excessive texter, to the point that I was shocked and alarmed. Last month she sent/received over 13,500 texts. That averages nearly 500 coming and going.  If we assume only half were sent texts, that is still 250 texts that she is typing out with her thumbs. It was time to have an intervention, and be the big bad ogre parents. If she can’t more than cut it in half, we will turn off the texting feature on her account. It is time to find her a hobby!

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