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How Text Messaging Impacts Social Interaction

Posted on the 14 September 2012 by Yogeshvashist98 @YogeshVashist98

It’s been two years since Americans stopped talking to each other. At least, that’s what USA Today is saying. According to them, 2010 was the year that text messaging reached an all-new high in the U.S.: 1.3 trillion text messages, up a whopping 33% from the year before.

And the advent of the smart phone means that not only texting is now available, but we can also check email, watch video, and surf our social networks on our phones too, among other things. It’s an amazing feat of technology, being able to have our entertainment and conversational needs met in one small, yet incredibly versatile device.

Unfortunately, there are serious casualties for all of this convenience, many say – and at the top of the list are good old fashioned verbal communication, and real human interaction.

Social Texting Dependence

You’ve probably seen many people walking down the street with their nose in a phone. Or, on your last visit to a bar, you may have witnessed entire groups of people who all sit together, but are all having other conversations on their devices. Some wonder about the point of getting together physically if there is no social interaction happening whatsoever.How Text Messaging Impacts Social InteractionThe Anonymity Attraction

Thinking about the traditional telephone, spoken words could be uncomfortable, such as when an argument is had or a phone call is made to ask someone for a date. And there’s not much time to think about what to say next or choose your words more carefully, which significantly increases the possibility that an argument will occur.

Text messaging allows us the convenience of avoiding all of those uncomfortable aspects we couldn’t with a regular telephone. It gives us time to deliberate on messages before we answer them, and doesn’t require us to verbally communicate our wants or resolve an issue with an apology. We are ‘present’ in the conversation, but at the same time, we have a level of anonymity that isn’t possible with the telephone.

This sounds like the ideal scenario, especially in stressful situations, but what is actually happening is that our ability to interrelate in social settings, along with the ability to handle real-world situations take some serious hits.

The Validity Argument

Those who are fans of the texting phenomenon say that just because we’re communicating in a different way than before, doesn’t necessarily mean that texting is somehow a less valuable way to do so. But anyone who’s ever been out to dinner or on another social outing with a texting-addicted friend will very likely be keen to express their annoyance about this trend if asked.

And it’s no wonder that annoyance is the by-product of being with someone in a social setting who texts: individuals surveyed have reported feeling like they’re being ignored, or indeed, not even in the room because their companion is too engrossed in the conversations happening on their phone to actually interact.

Although texting has become accepted by society, it has not become socially acceptable. There are still places which should be considered sacred no-texting ground, many say. Good examples could be the family dinner table, out on a walk after a stressful day at work, or when you’re out with friends.

Reconsidering Usage Reasons

Experts say that texting dependence can be prevented and even stopped in its tracks, simply by thinking about why we do it. Where anonymity is the reason, it should be noted that no technology can provide anyone with the skills or the confidence to communicate verbally with another human being. If your smart phone is providing more entertainment for you than real life, a reassessment is definitely in order, experts suggest.

Overcoming texting dependence can be as easy as turning your ringer and any other notifications off during quiet time alone or with friends or family. Try encouraging those you care about to contact you with a phone call, or a visit. You will soon realize that nothing can replace the energy, quality or value that can be found in real human interaction.


Guest author Ruth Suelemente enjoys writing on a variety of topics, particularly related to technology.  She is a frequent contributor at a site dedicated to helping consumers find internet providers in their area.  You can also find .

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