A lot of teenagers today are addicted to technology. It’s obvious. For those of you who have cell phones, odds are you find yourself spending a lot of your free time texting friends and checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and whatever other social media sites you have an account on.
Here are the statistics:
- 75% of teens have a cell phone
- 73% of teens are on a social media website like Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace
- 93% of teens spend time online
- a typical teen sends anywhere between 50-100 texts everyday… sometimes even more
Sure, not all teens are addicted, and not all of you even have Facebook and a cell phone. But the numbers are high and they are continuing to get higher.
Texting and social media sites are great. They are quick, easy, and super convenient. Sometimes you might not have time to call your friend to see if they want to hang out later, or you aren’t sure if they’re busy at that moment and might not be able to answer the phone. It’s fun seeing pictures your friend posts of Facebook, especially the friends that moved away or you might not be able to see very often. Catching up with someone via texting can be convenient when you’re both busy and have different schedules. There’s nothing wrong with texting or social media… as long as you don’t become addicted to it.
A lot of teens today tend to rely on texting and Facebook too much instead of engaging in face-to-face conversations. Some people text friends all night long who they’ve never spoken to at school, or maybe the only thing they’ve said to each other in person is “hi” as they pass in the halls. Some people Facebook their boyfriend/girlfriend instead of going out on dates. Some people even text someone they’re sitting right next to instead of actually talking to them.
With that being said, teens are having a hard time developing social skills. Hiding behind the internet and texting is causing them to not develop communication skills they need for jobs, relationships, school, and life in general. When you need to confront somebody and have a tough conversation, it sure is easy to just text them about it, but that won’t do you any good when someday you have a disagreement with your spouse or somebody at work. Will you feel too awkward and uncomfortable talking to them about it in person?
“Texting and Facebook friendships” also usually lack depth, meaning you probably aren’t as close with that person as you think you are. You can text someone 100 times every single day, but if you can’t have a real conversation with them in person, you aren’t really friends. It’s better to have quality over quantity: more real friends that you hang out with and talk to in real life as opposed to having tons of friends text you everyday. If something happens to you and you’re upset, would you rather text someone about it, or have someone be with you who you can talk to and hug and cry with?
Another thing about texting and messaging is it’s really easy for things you say to be misconstrued. When someone’s reading a message, it’s sometimes hard to tell if their friend is teasing them or joking with them, or if they’re being serious. But in person, you can hear in the person’s voice and see in their actions whether they’re joking or not. A lot of fights can start because of messaging.
Just like drugs and alcohol, if you continue to text or go on Facebook constantly, it can become a serious addiction. Your brain can become used to using technology so much, and even want to use it more and more. So be careful to only text and go on Facebook in moderation.
Especially with Christmas is coming up, try setting your phone down for a few days (or even just a few hours) and spend some quality time with your friends and family instead of hiding behind your phone. Engage in real conversations, watch movies together, play games together, go for a walk, go to the mall, share meals together. There are plenty of ways to spend quality time with those around you!