At a recent high school basketball game I witnessed a true example of how out of control the whole texting era has become. As I was cheering on our local boys my ears were drawn to the sounds coming from the opposing teams cheering section. They were obviously unhappy with a call the referee had just made, but their disgruntled voices were not what caught my attention. There were two teenaged girls on the top row who were loudly voicing their opinions with each call made. This was amazing to me because throughout this entire game their heads were bent down with their eyes glued to their cell phones. There is no way they could have actually known what was going on in the game unless of course they had eyes in the tops of their heads. I came to the conclusion that they were simply following the actions of the people seated in front of them. They would stand up with the others, scream whatever word of encouragement or disagreement their peers were and then sit back down and go directly back to texting away on their cell phones.
Do kids these days really have that much to talk about ALL of the time? My two oldest boys have been asking for a cell phone for quite awhile and much to their dismay the answer is repeatedly “no”. “Why?” they chime in together because I suppose they think that they will have more power in numbers. I simply ask them, “Do you ever talk on the phone at home?” “No.” “Then why would you want to carry around a phone that you will never use?” At this point they start to fidget and then fall back on the classic, “All my friends have one.” The perfect opening for the million and one come backs beginning with, “Well, if your friends jumped off a bridge…” and so on and so on.
Eventually they give up on this battle and vow to try another day. It seriously bugs me to walk into the mall, a ballgame or anywhere for that matter and see a group of kids mingling, but never opening their mouths to talk to one another. Instead they stare blankly at little, bitty screens reading texting shorthand just as fast as someone can type it. I honestly don’t get it, but maybe that is just a sign of age. I can’t help but wonder how many of them have actually walked into poles or walls because they weren’t watching where they were going.
When I was in high school I couldn’t wait for break time so I could go outside and sit with my best friends and catch up on whatever the latest drama was. We laughed and actually looked each other in the eye while we were talking. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that there are certain circumstances where sending a text is very beneficial. For example my twins’ basketball coach sends out informational texts concerning games and ball practices. This way he can reach everyone in a quick, simple way. That is understandable, but texting someone every five minutes just to see what they are doing? Give me a break. Pick up the telephone, call that person, and talk to them. Believe it or not there is a lot you can tell about a person by simply listening to the tone of their voice. It makes me wonder if kids understand that.
I guess it is possible my skepticism stems from the fact that I happen to be one of the worst at texting. In the amount of time it takes me to finish typing in my message on that tiny screen I could have called that person, had a conversation, and gotten some laundry done. My only comfort in this is that I know for a fact my good buddy Cook is far worse than I am. I got a good laugh at his expense the other day when he was trying to send his daughter a text.
A cousin of mine was kind enough to “school” me on what some of the abbreviations and shorthand actually meant. We were chatting with each other on the computer one day and one of her responses was “brb”. I sat there for a minute wondering what on God’s green earth that meant until I finally broke down and asked her. For those of us that don’t understand text language it is “be right back”. That’s how bad I was, but thankfully with her guidance I can now at least decipher the coded messages. I wonder if they actually have classes that teach “grown-ups” how to read these mysteries?
With my boys growing up in this technological age I hope they learn the importance of good old fashioned human contact. It is scary to think about how heavily we all rely on machinery and electronics. Do school age children still write each other notes trimmed out in silly faces and hearts? Are the “check yes or no” letters still in circulation or has it fallen into the texting trap too? I sure hope not because it is a known fact that electronics and technology fail, but friendships forged on solid ground in real life, not cyberspace, are what will live on forever.
Have a wonderful week, God bless and as the messaging goes “ttyl” or talk to you later!