What’s your go-to way of contacting your friends? For the majority of us it’s probably text messaging. While text messaging is an effective and quick way to contact friends, it does present some very real issues for millennials. So keep these in mind the next time you reach for your phone.
For starters, it’s easier to say things you wouldn’t say in person.
Many of us will admit that there have been times when we have said things in writing that we regret. We tend to act more boldly when we write something to someone versus saying it to his face. It’s a cowardly and easy way to confront someone, and most of the time we end up regretting what we wrote.
For example, a young woman named Michelle Carter wrote horrific text messages to her boyfriend convincing him to kill himself. Would she have told him in person to kill himself too? Would she have actually physically helped him kill himself? Or were her words simply easier to say over text message since she was removed from the situation? Her lawyers claim Michelle was in a poor state of mind, but nonetheless her words led to the death of another person.
It’s common to lose tone and context.
How many times have you read a text message and taken it the wrong way? It’s easy to do this because words can be perceived differently by the sender and receiver. That’s why phone calls or talking in person is always the best route to go if you have any concern of someone taking your words the wrong way.
It can lead to mental health issues.
Spending countless hours texting can lead to serious health issues. Not only has cyberbullying increased over the last several years, but a reliance on text messaging has been found to escalate anxiety, lead to problems at school, and increase sleep deprivation. We start to rely on people’s responses to our texts as a sign that they truly care or love us. For example, one young woman admitted that if someone does not respond within a timely manner, she will begin freaking out and thinking that person doesn’t like her or care anymore. Do you see how that can play with your mind and affect your mental health?
Texting and the loss of human respect
This evidence demonstrates that texting can lead to patterns that inhibit human respect. The mean words you can carelessly say over a text message, the loss of context and personal touch, and the mental mind games over not answering or answering too late all contribute to the loss of human respect.
When texting, are we really paying attention to that person’s needs, or are we just typing meaningless words to pass the time?
I challenge you to pay close attention this whole week to the text messages you receive and send. Are you texting when it would be better to call? Are you sending quick responses when someone may need your genuine advice? Are you relying too much on your phone? Do you neglect those right in front of you and look at your phone every time it goes off?
Watch your texting patterns and always remember that we are all human beings who deserve the utmost respect!