Teens and their Cell Phones: The Pros and Cons of Text Messaging [Teen Article]
Posted Jun 09 2009 11:42am
Noam is a 15-year-old from Orlando, FL. She enjoys cheerleading, writing poetry, and her favorite subjects are History and English because she loves reading and writing.
With today’s advancements in technology, cell phones have become a necessity for social survival. However, we are no longer limited to the simple phone call, as most of us teens now use our phones to send text messages. The danger is this: are we, as teens, becoming addicted to our cell phones? Parents, I am sure that when you consider punishing your teen one of the first ideas that comes to mind is taking away the cell phone. This is no coincidence, for we truly have become irrationally attached to our phones and to text messaging in particular. But whether you are a parent or teen, who is to say that the new age of the text message is all bad or all good? Here are some pros and cons to help you decide:
Pros to Text Messaging:
It is Convenient
Truly we are not always available or in the mood to talk on the phone. Phone conversations are time consuming and often require complete and undivided attention. Moreover, you are limited to the locations in which you can talk on the phone without disturbing others. Text messaging allows you to quickly communicate short thoughts to your friends and family. Comments such as “I’ll be home in five minutes” are simply more text-worthy.
Often it is less intimidating to begin communicating with someone over text message because you have more time to think of what you are going to say and how you are going to express yourself. Parents, think of it as a shorter, digital version of a letter. Personally, I know that I text a lot of people that I would have never had contact with otherwise. This allows me to expand beyond my narrow group of friends and to experience an array of different types of people. Once better acquainted, most of us will move on to having phone conversations and spending time together. Nevertheless, be careful that the text message is used as a single building block of a relationship, as oppose to the entire foundation.
Cons to Text Messaging:
It is Distracting
There is no use in denying it, when texting we are in our own little world. I know firsthand the frustration my parents experience when they are trying to talk to me, only to receive a grunt and a nod because I am too distracted by a text message. Incessant texting can also hurt your social relationships. To your friends and family it appears as though the person you are texting takes precedence over them, even if this may be far from the truth. The key to avoiding distraction by a text is prioritizing. The world will not come to an end if you text back an hour or two later.
It Takes Over Your Life
Though I am sure that some will argue otherwise, texting is not considered a hobby or an extra curricular activity. It becomes unhealthy when we begin to feel the need to text everywhere and all of the time. It is getting to the point where I will go to the movies, only to see the bright lights of at least ten different cell phones shining in the dark theatre. Are we really at the point where we can not bear to cease texting for two whole hours? And admit it, we’ve all done it, or at least thought about taking our phone to the bathroom and continuing to text in there. When texting rules your activities, you begin to miss out on the highlights of everyday life.
So in conclusion, like with most things, the key to healthy texting is moderation. It is ridiculous and illogical to expect your teen or yourself to stop texting altogether, as it has become embedded in our pop culture. Decide for yourself whether texting has become a personal addiction or if it is something that would be of personal benefit. At either end of the spectrum, it is futile to stress over something that may become nothing more than a passing fad in a few years.
Parenting Webinar with Vanessa Van Petten and Tara Paterson: