I remember when people wrote long, heartfelt letters in longhand. Then came the typewriter, which helped us lose the beauty of the handwritten word with lovely penmanship. Then the telephone came along, where early “party lines” enabled snoopy neighbors to overhear your spoken sentiments. After that, we had the fax machine which cut out the middleman in quick delivery. Then emails quickly took control – you could write and write and get an almost instant response. No waiting in anticipation at your mailbox for weeks hoping for that personal connection you started and which you hoped would be closed with a return missive.
And now we have devolved even more into text messaging. Now, don’t get me wrong – I text message about five times each day, on average. I do it for a quick alert – it’s better than hawks or carrier pigeons. As far as interpersonal intimacy is concerned, however, there is none, except for “sexting,” which is anything but cherished intimacy.
A survey on the website mashable.com highlighted this ever-diminishing level of interest in true personal contact and showed:
For people under the age of 25:
49% think it’s perfectly okay to text while eating
24%….while using the toilet
10%…while having sex [not to be confused with real sexual intimacy]
For people over the age of 25:
27% think it’s okay to text while eating
12%…while using the toilet
6% …while having sex.
This brings multi-tasking to a new low.
I realize the younger generation believes valuing certain things like privacy and modesty is “old fashioned,” and these sorts of compulsive texting practices are harmless and they don’t see themselves as rude, inconsiderate or clueless, but when they turn 40 and have children, it’s amazing how many of them finally see the negativity in diminishing true intimacy and needing incessant and relatively meaningless interaction just for the sake of thinking they’re important, or because they don’t want a moment of “boredom,” or because they’re just making a frantic attempt to distract themselves from life’s responsibilities, obligations, challenges and fears.
Not being able to concentrate fully on one task, one in-depth interaction/conversation, not seeing important life experiences as serious and sacred is a problem.
Parents with minor children have a responsibility to help children curb their out-of-control impulses, whatever they are. Make sure you have a contract with your phone provider that allows for up to 10-15 texts per day instead of the average of 100 texts per day kids are doing now. Have them pick and choose what is most important to them to use up those precious texts. Have them learn something about prioritizing and budgeting and making choices using some deep thought.
Parents, this is YOUR JOB: to teach your children to moderate behavior in appropriate ways, or else you turn out-of-control children into out-of-control adults, for whom a million texts will be the way they measure their worth and their daily happiness.