A few days ago, I nearly rammed into a tree because I was texting while walking, leaving me extremely embarrassed. My entire face turned red, and I looked up, expecting everyone around me to be laughing hysterically. But life went on as though nothing hilarious had just happened. Everyone else was too busy texting as well.
Texting is a hot topic for college students. So huge, our generation could be defined as the Texting Generation. To quote a professor of mine: “All you guys do all day is text.” He is clearly frustrated with the ubiquitous use of cell phones on campus and the borderline addiction college students have with text messaging. Parents retaliate by setting limits and making rules for their children. These restrictions might include no texting at the dinner table or a limited texting plan—the latter works far better. Certainly both teachers and parents have reasons to feel like texting is out of control. Students are unaware of their surroundings and unfocused on what is happening in front of them, be it an economics lecture or a parent trying to reach out to their child. Texting is not conducive to living in an ever-changing environment populated with people. Instead, it allows each of us to live in our own electronic, isolated world, inundated with text messages. Texting might also lead to more tree-related collisions.
However, all adults do not agree on this understanding of texting, and there is a flip side to this argument. Many parents and teachers have embraced the use of texting as an effective means of communication. And why wouldn’t they? In fact, some professors even tell students to text each other in class if they need help or have questions on an assignment. Parents might text their children to find out when they will be home after school.
Why do they text instead of call? Texting is quicker. Remember when phones didn’t have full keyboards? I don’t. Just kidding, I do, but the full keyboard makes texting even easier. This becomes a matter of convenience, especially in a quiet place: the library, or all too often, the lecture hall or classroom. The key here is that texting is used in moderation, and not in excess.
Why is texting synonymous with college students? Most everyone these days, from children to grandparents, has a cell phone. Yet only college students are racking up thousands of messages each month. Texting defines our generation. It is much more than a communications channel to college students. It is how they stay in touch with friends at different colleges, how they network with students in their classes, and how they stay up-to-date on happenings in their community. Texting is used for many purposes, which is why the messages are virtually incessant.
However, that also illuminates something else about this generation. They are quick, productive, and able to multi-task, so they can field many texts at once. This generation is a group of critical thinkers who can accurately solve problems, and perhaps texting plays a role in it. All these skills are used by college students in class and are transferable to the workplace. Texting has become part and parcel of our lives.
At first glance, the term Texting Generation sounds negative. But this should be accepted with pride. Hello world, we are the Texting Generation, here to stay, once and for all, loud and proud… or at least texting and silent.