Yes, it’s convenient to be able to connect with people in a flash. I can’t count the number of times I’ve sent or received texts in the grocery store about items missing from the shopping list.
But communicators and parents alike know the art and science of texting is impacting our social and education systems in ways we never could have imagined.
Think about these four reasons text messages are killing our communication:
1. Texting reduces the need for in-depth conversations.
Have you texted people as a form of avoidance? A few abbreviated words keep people from meaningful dialogue and face-to-face communication. It also diminishes the importance of body language in our communication.
2. Texting dumbs down spelling and grammar.
“Txtspk” leads to deficiencies in basic language skills. Shortcuts with spelling, punctuation and emoticons don’t help children and teenagers learn the necessary writing and communication skills they need for college and the workforce. Are these convenient shortcuts, acronyms and abbreviations giving way to generations of lazy and sloppy communicators? (Oh, gr8.)
3. Texting distracts us from being fully present.
Earlier this year, the industry association that represents wireless communications (CTIA) reported that more than 184 billion text messages are sent each month in the U.S.
These messages interrupt our brain function and attention. Texting pulls our focus away from the people and tasks we are experiencing in a moment, which deprives us of being completely present in our lives.
4. Texting invites ambiguity.
Joel Willans wrote on Nokia.com: “The format of 160 characters was determined in 1993 by a communications researcher, Friedham Hillebrand. While trying to standardize the technology that would allow cell phones to transmit and display messages, he discovered that the average sentence or question needed just 160 characters.”
This leaves too many opportunities to mistakenly read between the lines.
Thx 4 readng. Comment b-low.
A version of this article first appeared on GetInFrontCommunications.com.