In my devil’s advocate piece, I argue that texting is beneficial for introverts. It helps them to remain connected with others without leaving the comfort of home. However, I believe quite the opposite; that texting hinders social communication between people by eliminating the need for physical encounters.
Two years ago, text messaging surpassed safety on the list of reasons why teens purchase cell phones. If this says anything about our priority list as consumers, it’s that we’re become unhealthily obsessed with our mobile phones.
Today, you can visit nearly any public setting – a park, school, restaurant, shopping mall, town pool – and see most of our youth on their cell phones. Despite being with friends and family, they’re overcome by whoever is on the other side of their screens. With Americans sending an average of 3,339 texts per month, amounting to more than six texts every hour, we can’t help but imagine what everyone is constantly talking about.
Although it can be argued that texting helps introverts communicate or that it keeps teens out of trouble, I believe otherwise. For introverts, this is probably the majority of their social interaction, deteriorating their interpersonal skills. How can you learn to communicate with others when you’re hiding behind a screen? For teens, this means late-night texting, texting during family outings, and texting while driving, none of which have positive outcomes.
According to the Pew Research Center , 72 percent of teens text every day, with one-third sending more than 100 texts daily. Although parents may support texting because it keeps their child home and behaved, rather than roaming the streets, it also distracts them from family conversation and quality time spent. I’m sure that more than a handful of us have seen teens incessantly texting at the dinner table, ignoring conversation and passively escaping the situation.
But teens aren’t the only problem. Adults can avoid contact with a family member or unwanted suitor by ignoring their phone calls and sending a quick text instead. “Busy. Sry.” Not only is this rude, but it hinders our ability to handle certain situations, such as a family fight or rejection of an unwanted mate. Constantly hiding behind text messages only leads to avoiding important situations.
Although by nature, human beings have problems communicating , texting only worsens the situation. The only communication is via words and emoticons, which prevent friends from exchanging laughs, physically touching and learning general behaviors such as appropriate eye contact or personal space. You can be friends with someone for months via text and have extremely poor physical communication and body language upon meeting.
It’s true that for introverts and teens with strict parents, texting provides an avenue to get to know others. Wikihow.com suggests asking open-ended questions that illicit a longer reply. Specifically, the site says not to ask yes or no questions, such as, “Do you like pop music?” instead asking, “What are your favorite genres of music? ” But, wouldn’t it be more impacting to listen to music together? Or, learn what your friend’s favorite music is by spending time with him/her? These conversations can be meaningless without physical time spent to support them.
There’s no reason for text messaging to replace physical interaction or to invade in your encounters with others. Although it’s exciting to preoccupy one’s self with texts throughout the day, it’s better to physically leave the house and chat with a friend. You’ll get to know his or her habits and quirks – even simple details such as his/her clothing style. And if you’re using text messaging to meet a potential suitor, how can flat words be an indication of chemistry? Texting can only connect people to a certain extent, but beyond that, these fabricated don’t have much substance.