.Does this look familiar? This is typical of what many kids today call a conversation. However, adults are texting more as well. Sending a quick text that requires a short immediate answer is convenient but there is a lot of value in verbal communication.
I took an unscientific survey and asked people why they text instead of call. Here are 10 reasons I received from adults and kids (in no particular order) and my responses.
- “The other person won’t answer their cell phone.” — Yet, they most likely are holding onto it like a baby’s pacifier, every second of every day, and are more than eager to text, take and share photos, play games, and any number of other things besides have the common courtesy to pick up their phone and say, “Hello.”
- “The other person isn’t supposed to have their cell phone.” — A perfect example is the school environment. Most schools prohibit kids and/or teachers from having cell phones in class, although few enforce their own rule. Students and teachers are in class for a reason and it’s not to use their cell phones, even for texting so you shouldn’t be texting them anyway.
- “If we text instead of talk, we can do it over several hours.” — Most normal phone conversations don’t take several hours. It’s actually faster to pick up the phone and talk something out versus text (even with abbreviations) and then have to wait for the person to text back over and over and over again.
- “I’m too shy to actually talk.” — Shyness has been around for generations. Avoiding what feels uncomfortable doesn’t help you overcome anything.
- “It’s easier to hide behind texting.” — Without spoken words, many conversations can be misunderstood or taken the wrong way. No matter how many emoticons you use, when you don’t hear the person’s voice, you lose the human element.
- “No one can eavesdrop on my conversation.” — While that is true, it’s a lot easier to review a text conversation if a parent or even spouse has a reason to check.
- “Everyone else does it.” — Probably the worst reason of all but sadly, if texting is the only way that kids communicate with friends, even the kids who would rather talk are forced to text if they want to be socially accepted.
- “You can’t multi-task if you’re talking.” — Translation: The person doesn’t think enough of you to take the time to have a speaking conversation or focus on you. There are other situations where texting is also rude and disrespectful: meal times, texting while someone is trying to talk to you, texting during meetings, among others.
- “Texting eliminates awkward silence on a phone call.” — This happens with kids more but as they get better at communicating in general, they will know how to avoid those awkward moments or take them as a sign that the phone call is long enough.
- “It’s less personal.” — I agree with this one. Unfortunately, texting means we don’t need to deal with people face to face. We don’t even need to hear their voice. For that matter, with texting, we can’t even be sure we are communicating with the person we think it is.