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28 March 2013
Behind the Screen

Texting should be eliminated, destroyed, and completely done away with because it has ruined our ability to communicate. Short phrases. Smiley faces. An emoji. Unuzual spellingz. Odd punnucation… & wait time. These things all play a part in how we interpret (often misinterpret) what is being said in a text message. We hide behind our phones when we do not want to have a difficult conversation with someone. We send texts when we are afraid of what the other might say or how they will react. The “art” of texting has replaced more intimate and effective forms of communication. It is time that we take a stand and destroy this monster that is threatening to topple society.

Text messages are responsible for destroying countless relationships and life-long friendships. At the start of college my best friend and I had to rely solely on texting because we were no longer at the same school and heaven forbid we should call each other! We thought that it would be fine, but nope we were wrong. We did not anticipate the struggles that would come along with our new relationship. Some days it would take her hours to respond to my messages because she was “in class,” and could not be bothered to respond to my urgent need to know what I should do about the boy I liked. I texted her when I received an A on my first Calc III exam and was devastated when she used only three exclamation marks to show her excitement. We were so frustrated and angry with each other that we began texting less and less. By winter break we were not texting at all. Texting almost killed our relationship, but we were saved. My mother suggested something that seemed absurd to me: some good-old fashioned, face-to-face conversation. I was able to see my friend’s excitement for me when I told her I earned the prized ‘A’ in Human Event. I was also able to express my pride at her accomplishments. These things had been impossible over a few words seen on a tiny screen sent from across the state. My best friend and I were able to push through the trials and tribulations of texting, but not everyone is.

The power of texting is more than most people even know. Roughly half of relationships are terminated by means of a text message. Millions of people have to read that the one they are with wants to be with them no longer. Reasons for the break-up are lost as are the result of the break-up. The person who was broken up with will send a ranting text to their friend using CAPITAL LETTERS and unnecessary…punctuation!
There is a serious detachment from our words and their consequences. I will admit that I am guilty of sending overly flirty texts because I can always claim that “I didn’t know how the person would take it.” I have also shown my meanest side, once again because I didn’t have to claim responsibility for the interpretation of the message. Although I am pretty sure that “meanie head” and “big trashcan full of poop” are insults in whatever medium they are expressed.
The same words have the ability to build people up or tear them down based on the context in which they are said, the tone used to say them, and the body language that accompanies them. Text messages have some context, but the tone and body language are hidden behind the screen. The cure for the troubles brought on by misreading is a face-to-face conversation. Using text messaging for serious matters causes us to be bolder and more aggressive than the situation calls for because we do not have to be responsible for the emotions of the person on the receiving end. Generations and generations before us survived without text messaging. It is time that we take a stand against the communication method responsible for destroying so many good things in our life—it can’t be our own fault. It is time to return to the pleasures of talking face-to-face, time to take power back from the texts. Let us return to the good days when we were not hidden behind tiny screens and lost in their vague and often incendiary messages.



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