Text Messaging: Addiction or Connection?

Kate Krantz

Are you texting while reading this?
Assuming your cell phone just alerted you with a new text message, it’s reasonable to believe that you are deciding whether to text back as the phone shouts for your attention.

Texting is a serious addiction. It’s a widespread epidemic that has swept the college student population and now that it has taken effect, the recovery is debatable.

An addiction is often classified by the state of being abnormally reliant on a particular habit. Whether you admit it or not, that text message conversation about what you ate for breakfast this morning falls under this category and is also pointless.

First and foremost, I admit I was a text-messaging addict. I might as well have been placed in TMA (Text Messenger Anonymous). Don’t laugh because this potentially will exist sometime soon.

At first glance, texting seemed harmless. It was convenient and quick. I was capable of text messaging as fast as my thumbs could fly.

I used to text on the way to class, during a lecture, eating lunch, completing homework, during family and friend outings and even while working out.

I was obsessed to the extent that I gave myself bribes such as putting off an assignment an extra day in exchange for texting a friend about how a date went.

On an average, I had 5,000 text messages a month and my family was not thrilled with this new record I set.

I’m still surprised I don’t have carpal tunnel syndrome.

My over excessive text messaging not only took a toll on my grades but relationships as well.

I was completely unaware of this until it resulted in a fight with a friend via texting. I was agitated by the dispute. And I grew even more upset with myself because I allowed my cell phone to control me.

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem and I became a programmed text-messaging machine. It was a massive wake up call, almost as piercing as the sound of an alarm clock.

From that moment on, I stopped texting cold turkey. It has been almost half a year and I haven’t had my buttons pushed since.

I repeat, I do not text message. I don’t send nor do I receive messages in my inbox. You might be reading this and thinking I’m from planet mars but I assure you, I come in peace.

Most earthlings, also identified as students with their cell phones, are a common sight at GCC. The college campus is one large social network.

Whether on Facebook, Twitter, Skype, iChat, AIM or text messaging, students are connected.

On a typical day, college student life consists of exams, composition essays, clubs, extracurricular activities, etc. But how can you focus when such distractions come into play?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to communication. However, I believe that texting is the largest distraction amongst all forms of mass media and everyone and their grandmother is doing it. So what makes it so bad, right?

Although each type of media is appealing, mind overpowering matter is the hardest obstacle to overcome.

There is not single day when a student isn’t texting in class. The vibration of the phone breaks their concentration as the screen light glows on their face.

To be frank, it’s distracting and disrespectful to not only me but also the professor. Honestly, if you think an argument about how JWoww is hotter than Snooki is more important than education, you seriously have some issues. You know who you are.

And what’s this nose hovering over your cell phone as you’re walking business? It’s not attractive nor is it an intelligent idea.

Are you really even multitasking? I’m sure that the woman at the mall who nosedived into the water fountain could tell you otherwise.

When you’re text messaging someone, it is a virtual conversation.

Most people want a response quick and it becomes a habit. It’s like fast food and ordering from the dollar menu at McDonald’s: quantity for a lack of quality.

“You do it because it’s easier for the other person . at least, I do,” said student Angela Marie. Texting might be more convenient for the person on the opposite end but is it really simple for you?

In my past experience, it takes so much effort to send one simple text message and spell check is just the beginning of the errors.

Texting makes conversations longer whereas a one-minute phone conversation takes you 10 minutes via texting.

In addition, a text message is never received immediately and when that occurs, some people tend to take unnecessary actions such as texting, “Hello, are you there?” a thousand times.

Stop. It’s annoying. Just do it old school and pick up the phone. However, I doubt that you will because you don’t have the courage to verbally say it.

And in most text conversations, that is often the case. It is very common for a person to portray an image through the cell phone screen.

“It’s like Halloween for everyone every day. It’s what you’re scared to be, it’s like a second life,” said student Bong Hoang.

In a nutshell, text messages lack emotional value. Because a text message is neither visual nor auditory, the message is more susceptible to misinterpretation and assumption. I hate to break your heart but we don’t all have telepathy.

Texting has become so common that it’s almost second nature and in turn, the use of body language is decreasing.

“It’s a body shock to most people to even use it,” said Hoang.

With abbreviations such as “BRB,” “TTYL,” and “LOL” on the rise, text messaging has made people anti-social and even greetings have lost significance. “It’s like a smile and a hand wave doesn’t mean anything,” said student Bernard Leon.

Texting demeans real communication. You can rewrite a text message, but in life, the words you speak are natural and raw. The luxury of a delete button doesn’t exist and you cannot back space.

If a person, one after the other, jumps off a bridge, arching over a body of cold seawater, does that mean you should as well?

The answer is plainly, no. Text messaging has the same ripple affect and it has become a never-ending crazed fad.

“It’s like cattle. People just follow the crowd,” said Leon. Does a subconscious even exist anymore?

Due to the advancements in mass media, technology has kept us from achieving one of the most important priorities: living.

And sometimes, texting can place you on the fine line between life and death.
According to the Harvard Center of Risk Analysis, cell phone use while driving contributes to an estimated 6 percent of all crashes, which equates to 636,000 crashes, 330,000 injuries, 12,000 serious injuries and 2,600 deaths each year.
Accidents come in all sorts of sizes, and fortunately for student Jack Najarian,
only a fender bender.

Late for a date, Najarian was driving 83 miles per hour on the freeway in medium traffic. More than anything, Najarian was irritated about dropping his brother off at work so rushing to get to his next destination seemed to be the only option.

Waiting at a stop sign to make a right turn off the freeway, Najarian was unaware that the car ahead of him had not made the turn. In the midst of a text, with his head pointing down, Najarian moved his car and smacked into the other car’s bumper.

“All of my anger went away. It was such a big deal that everything else didn’t matter. Life smacked me in the face.it could have been worse,” he said.
Scarred by his experience, Najarian admits he is a text-messaging addict.

How much does it take for you to admit you’re addicted?

I ask you, the reader, to spend one day text free. I challenge you to try to have a conversation – the original instant message.