Texting Our Way to Oblivion

Not long after cell phones became ubiquitous  it seemed like every other person I saw, whether in the car or on the sidewalk, was jabbering into one of these little gee gaws.  I kept wondering, “What do all these people have to talk about all the time?”  Talk, talk, talk.  Now, I’m a busy guy with a lot of responsibilities and tasks to accomplish.  I help run three businesses, have over 200 employees and I travel.  Granted, I don’t have children.  But I still don’t get it.  What are they talking about ALL THE TIME?

Yesterday I really went nuts.  The Pew Research Center released a new study titled “Teens and Mobile Phones.”  The findings are that teens are sending enormous quantities of text messages each day.  The typical American teen sends and receives 50 or more messages per day, or 1,500 per month.  But wait, there’s more!

31% of teens send and receive more than 100 messages per day, more than 3,000 messages a month.

15% of teens who are texters send more tha 200 texts per day, or more than 6,000 texts a month.

A little Google research reveals that there has been a 107% increase in text message use in the U.S  in the past year and that 2.5 billion are sent each day in the U.S.  More text messages are sent per phone than phone calls.

What bugs me is that I think (I may be wrong) that most of this is just chatter.  I define that by example:  “Hi, what are ya up to?  Nothin.  Me neither.  Where are you?  At the mall.  Cool.  I’ll catch ya later.”  OK, that’s innocent enough.  But here’s my mega-concern.  If (almost) all of our young people are spending most of their time chatting back and forth and are so addicted that many sleep with their gee gaws under their pillow, when are they actually thinking?  Aren’t they just skipping their way across the lake of life?

Research has shown that your brain needs at least 15 concentration-filled minutes to get into the zone where you’re truly focused and doing your best work.  I know many young people are in school and actually do concentrate once in a while.  But what about the rest of the time?  A successful, well-adjusted life requires time to think – to concentrate, to focus, to noodle things through.  Our collective future as a culture and society demands this.  We have problems that need thought.  I’m worried that the next generation of policy-shapers and decision-makers are texting their way into oblivion.  This worries me.

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