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The Blue & Gray Press | August 17, 2017

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Texting: the bane of social skills

By LAUREN CORMIER

Looking around the classroom, the movie theatre, a restaurant or any other public place it is always easy to spot at least one person with a phone in hand; today, our society has become accustomed to sending a text rather than calling or talking face-to-face.

The phone will ring, the ignore button is pushed and five minutes later a text is sent saying “Sorry, I missed your call–what’s up?” Before caller ID and texting was even thought of, answering the phone, regardless of who was on the other end, was something done without hesitation.

According to a poll by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, texting is the preferred mode of communication and a vital social tool. According to the poll, 75 percent of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 now have cell phones. This increased from 45 percent in 2004. Within the past 18 months alone those who say they text daily has gone up from 38 percent to 54 percent.

Texting is easier, as well as more convenient to cancel plans, confess feelings and quickly see how someone is doing through a simple, fast text. Although proven to be very useful, people are turning away from traditional, emotional communication.

It is so easy to send a text to a family member in the room next door, instead of simply walking over there and having a real conversation.

This is not something that will positively affect our communication skills in the long run. In the job market or for personal relationships, in person encounters are important. Through text we cannot see body language, facial expressions or tone of voice. These are all lost between the sending and receiving of a text.

Many fear that texting also has negative impacts on grammar and writing.

Spell check is becoming relied on to correct misspelled words, and abbreviations and slang are being used and practiced more often than practicing correct English.

Texting interferes with the experience of language and developing a real face-to-face relationship. It is much easier to tell your crush your feelings without looking them in the eye. This is the same for bullying or harassment as well. Texting makes it too easy to hide behind our words.

I challenge everyone to refrain from texting for even one day. Instead, call someone for a genuine conversation. Talk to someone in person. Keep good eye contact. This will only help us to become better communicators.

 

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