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Modernly Addicted

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Eighteen-year-old Celia and Josman met over the phone through Gabriella, who was Celia’s friend and Josman’s cousin. Shortly after, Josman asked Celia to be his girlfriend. Celia lives in New York and Josman lives in Boston. While Celia was on summer vacation in the Dominican Republic, they spoke on the phone for three to four hours every day. Celia summarized what they talked about all those days while she was on vacation. “We talked about how our days had gone, the weather, cars, our fantasies, and the future,” she said.

“I felt like I was in love,” Josman said. “Every time I would talk to her the feeling would grow. She said I made her feel different and she liked that.”

Celia and Josman met in person before the summer came to an end. “I was blown away,” Josman said. “I found her attractive. I liked her smile and her laugh the most.” But Celia was in for a surprise. “He wasn’t my type, not at all what I was expecting,” she said.

These are the teens whose relationships don’t last. For teens in general, it’s more convenient to text or IM someone to declare their love for them. Many teen relationships, like Celia and Josman’s, have begun with an Instant Message, Text, or phone call. As the relationship grows, the boy and girl continue to communicate through the phone, texts, and IMs, staring at their T-Mobile’s Sidekick screen at one o’clock in the morning instead of hanging out in person. Screen-based communication is the worst. Although it helps economize on subway fares, movies, and phone bills, some people relate to each other entirely differently in the real world than they had when they were safely behind a keyboard. Some couples, when they meet in person, don’t even talk about what they talk about in their IMs and text messages.

As these teens grow up, they lack professionalism and social confidence. Teens rarely phone their friends and family; instead they text their words a mile a minute. For those who grow nervous and choke while talking on the phone, texting has been a life saver. Unfortunately, unlimited text messaging will not help them learn how to talk to strangers on the phone. And confidence on the phone is one of the professional skills that young people need for their future success on the job.

Adults are now falling into the same electronic trap. They need to be taught by their teenaged children how to compose, open, and send a text message. They learn eventually, and they finally get the hang of all modern tools. In a survey of 300 adults conducted by the newspaper “am New York” last October, “Thirty percent of those surveyed said they actually rely on texting more than talking.” Many respondents said they “spend more time texting, sending pictures, and messaging than actually conversing.”

It is a problem at any age to rely too much on technology for communication. A phone call is much more respectful than a text message. Even an email is more respectful than a text message.

Adults and teens alike are often hiding behind a screen and keyboard. For adults, EHarmony.com and match.com are sites that take the nerves away from introducing yourself for the first time. Later on in life, people who rely on these web sites and on text messaging for communicating with other people will realize they have self-esteem problems. These modern instruments create a type of shelter for those who are shy. As they hide behind an electronic screen, they never have the opportunity to actually live life or have worldly experiences.

Both Josman and Celia were asked to summarize their relationship in one word. “Fake,” was all Josman said. “Ridiculous,” Celia said. “I felt like it was all going too fast. He talked a lot on AIM and on the phone, in person he said less than a word. I learned my lesson.”



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This article has 4 comments. Post your own!

moomoocow said...
Jun. 28, 2011 at 2:10 am:
This is really good and just too true. I have one friend I call a lot but I usually just text. After reading your article I think I'm going to change that.
 
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InvisibleNerdGirl said...
Apr. 1, 2011 at 6:49 pm:

Very well-done piece! :)

(And the ad next to this article right now is one for a dating website. O_o)

 
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CSJS! said...
Feb. 7, 2010 at 11:57 am:
I agree. My good friend has a new 'boyfriend' she met online who she has never seen in person but has chatted with on the phone. She says they are 'in love' but I'm just worried he's stringing her along on the side or something.
 
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KaotiK said...
Dec. 1, 2009 at 6:52 pm:
wow Yoly , now i kinda agree with ur argument lol
 
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