homepage logo

Texting is nothing to LOL?about

By Staff | Mar 20, 2009

Am I the only one who thinks texting has gotten out of hand?

Last weekend I sat at a UND hockey game and watched three people in the row ahead of me text during the entire game. One girl checked her phone at least every 15 minutes. These people paid good money for their ticket, and it’s a shame they spent most of their time staring at their phones.

The texting craze has gone, especially among teenagers, completely over the top. Not only are teens texting on the way to class, but many of them text in the classroom, even though most schools don’t allow it. I heard just lately that some kids are so good at texting that they can do it without even looking at the phone. Some have been known to wear sweatshirts with the front pouch pocket and put their phones in there. They can text from inside their pockets and out of view of their teachers.

I find that amazing. I’ve sent one text message in my life, just to say that I did it, and it took me five minutes to peck out a 10-word message. But in the case of teenagers, practice makes perfect. It’s reported that some teens say they text all day long. I believe it. You see people texting while in the movies, while eating, walking the halls at school or on the sidewalk, and even driving.

I was utterly amazed at how obsessed the three people sitting in front of me at the hockey game were with texting. I had no idea just how ridiculous it’s really gotten until I was sitting in church in Grand Forks that same weekend. Can you believe the guy beside me was texting during church? I was appalled. I think he may have gotten a hint about how I felt, because he gave me a few sideways glances when he realized I was watching him. Who in the world could he be texting? Why couldn’t he be cut off from that person for an hour? What is this world coming to?

I must admit that someone recently brought to my attention that some people have actually downloaded the Bible to their PDA or Blackberry or Palm Pilot, or Pocket PC, or Smartphone, or whichever of the latest technological “must-haves.” So I guess I have to give this guy the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was just following along in his electronic Bible.

But still, it looked tacky, not to mention the terrible example he was setting for his young son sitting there in the pew beside him.

Sure, texting is good in that it keeps more people connected, but I think that, like with a lot of technology, it’s cutting down on the personal contact between people. Could texting replace phone calls and email? It’s certainly possible. Cell phones and email have virtually replaced land lines and the written letter. It’s all about the next new thing when it comes to technology-driven communication.

Not only does texting cause a breakdown of face-to-face communication, it has basically destroyed dinner table conversation. Plus, it can be a real hazard. I read somewhere that today’s teenagers will have a higher rate of carpal tunnel when they are adults than those in the past decade, the cause being cell phone texting. I heard awhile back that a pedestrian was killed when he was so busy texting that he didn’t even realize he had stepped off a curb into oncoming traffic. Heck, the state legislature couldn’t even get a law passed that would ban texting while driving. Here I thought talking on your phone while driving was dangerous. Just think about how much texting would take your attention away from the road?

Maybe texting should be banned in certain places. Pretty soon we’ll have to check our electronics at the door like they had to do with their guns at the Wild West saloons. Then people won’t be using them in places and situations where they shouldn’t, like in church. Disrespectful text messaging habits like that must be stopped. Even so, people must realize that text messaging has its proper time and place – and church is not one of them.

The bottom line is that the popularity of cell phones and text messaging have utterly destroyed people’s awareness of those around them. If people simply demonstrated equal parts courtesy, common sense and self-restraint, the problem would vanish overnight.

But don’t hold your breath. The guy texting in church pretty much converted me into a complete cynic.

Mullally is a Tribune writer.

Please Enter Your Facebook App ID. Required for FB Comments. Click here for FB Comments Settings page