“When they open up the time capsule for 2002, 2012, 2020, they’re going to find that what brought us down as a civilization, is texting.” – Judge Judy on The Larry King Now Show
I won’t say it’s the end of civilization as we know it but, there are a lot of things to be said about that statement. When I think about all the levels of how texting has harmed our daily life, and tainted our form of communication, I have to say take a closer look into why this is the case.
Here are some issues I’ve found problematic when it comes to texting:
Frequency: How often are you texting? Are you texting others while at dinner with a friend? Do you sleep next to your phone and get triggered to immediately respond to a beep, ding, or a vibration sound? Do you check your phone for texts even without any notification? If you say yes to one of these questions you might need to consider that you have a problematic relationship with texting.
Cowardly: One can argue that texting versus picking up the phone could be a cowardly things to do. What are you afraid of? Are you using texting to avoid a conversation with someone? Does texting abate feelings of anxiety, or relief you from potential conflict?
Control: Is texting a form of control for you? Maybe you feel the need to control the conversation, and if you are stuck on the phone with someone, and don’t know what the other person is going to say, so you won’t have time to craft your response like you would in a text. Is texting a way to control a relationship based on how fast you respond to a text? Does that put you in the drivers seat and make you feel in charge?
Obsessed: Do you scroll back and re-read text conversations to analyze it, and pick it a part to understand the meaning behind words? Often times we can obsess over even just one text, or even just one word in a text.
- Text: How are you?
- Response: Cool. Busy.
- Reaction: Ok, so you’re cool, but busy too. So, are you blowing me off? Are you too busy to talk, or not interested in further engaging with me? Or are you just cool, busy, no big deal? I don’t know and can spend a lot of time ruminating on it.
- Text: Love you.
- Response: I love you too.
- Reaction: Why didn’t he or she say I love you. Does it make it less valid when you shorten those all so crucial three words? Do you sorta love me, or think of your love for me in passing? Sounds crazy to pick apart words in a sentence but people do it, and the time spent trying to determine the meaning behind words in a sentence can drive someone crazy.
Dependent: When was the last time you had a conversation in person or over the phone? Are you so dependent on texting as a form of conversation that you have lost the ability to form relationships with human contact? Does the thought of not having access to your phone for texting cause you anxiety or stress?
These are just some examples to consider. On the flip side, texting does have it’s benefits, for it is at the very least a form of communication but, is it your number one form to engage with civilization? Let’s hope not. If you were to count how many times in a day, or even an hour, that you look at your phone to check for texts or write texts, and find yourself falling into any of the warning signs listed above, maybe you’re experience of civilization is void.