Think of the Children

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It’s official: I’m getting older because I’m increasingly venture into “get off my lawn” inspired commentary.


You know you’re getting older when you start to get around teenagers and have to fight off visible befuddlement (also, when you use the word “befuddlement” without irony). Or better yet, when the teenagers you wind up around flat out inform of that fun fact. Like the daughter of a friend who recently told me, “I’d ask you to come to the prom with me, Michael, but you’re old.” Full admission: I’m gay, 27, she only wanted to go with me because her boyfriend is short (I support everyone’s right to be shallow, especially my own) and I didn’t actually want to go to a high school prom. But damn, that hurt all the same.

If the prom snub wasn’t reminder enough of how not-young I am, watching the young lady’s obsessive cell phone behavior made me think of another teen in my life – my oldest niece – and the habit they and many other of those 1990s babies share: nonstop texting. Of the head down, eyes zoomed into the cell, they’ve entered a virtual universe all their own variety.

According to a new Pew survey, texting has become the primary mode of communication for teenagers. The volume of texting among teens has risen from 50 texts a day in 2009 to 60 texts for the median teen text user. That almost sounds like a modest average given the teens I’ve been around almost type as much on a given day as me, a working writer.

I understand that cell phones are becoming a rite of passage for kids sooner than they were for me (I got mine at 17), I increasingly wonder whether or not that non-verbal communication surge thanks to texting has any consequences.

Read more here.

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