Dear all of you text happy people out there,
I watch you everyday and hope to never be like you. Thumbs moving a million miles an hour, eyes totally focused on the small little device that controls your life while someone stands right in front of you. They try and talk to you and hold a conversation with you but really, they are just talking at you while you reply every once in a while with a “yeah or uhuh”, never bothering to even look up.
I see you in groups at restaurants with your friends, all of you sitting together but each of you on your phones texting other people or checking instagram or Facebook. What ever happened to talking face to face? What happened to actually talking to the person that you’re sitting next to? The saddest part of it all is that you don’t even notice you are being rude because this behavior is so typical of the current generation and it is even starting to become accepted.
Next time you are with a group of friends I challenge you to try and go two hours without touching your phone. I hope you will see everything you are missing by constantly being attached to your phone. You will build stronger relationships with the people around you because you will be able to focus all of your attention towards them. You will see that you can actually have fun without having to have your phone glued to your hand. One thing that I like to do when I’m at a restaurant with all my friends is to all put our phones in the middle of the table and their first one to reach for their phone has to pay the bill. It seems kind of silly but it makes for a much more enjoyable time because everyone is engaged and apart of the conversation and no one if off on their phone texting other people.
You might think its socially acceptable to be on your phone when your talking to other people but I guarantee you not everyone shares that same belief. Most people find it rude to be talking to someone who is paying no attention to them or is more interested in their phone then talking to you. In fact, 94% of people have reported that they find it rude when people are on their phones while having a conversation. That means that only 6% of people find this behavior to be socially acceptable yet you still do it all the time. Recent reports in the United States have shown that smartphone owners aged 18-24 send 2022 text messages per month. That means you are sending an average of 67 text messages a day. An insane amount!
Another thing you do that I find incredibly rude is when you text in class. You might not want to listen and you might not care about the class but I do and so do the majority of the people in the room. You might think its not distracting because your volume is turned off. But just to let you know, the vibration is just as annoying and we can all hear it go off. Not only are you distracting other people in the class you are also hindering your own learning. There was an experiment that took place in 2010 that solidifies this argument. In the experiment, 62 undergraduate students taking a course in the principles of accounting were asked to take part in an experiment to determine how texting affects class performance. As part of the experiment, half of the class was allowed to text during the lecture, and the other half of the class had to have their phones turned off. After the lecture, both groups took the same quiz and the students who did not text scored significantly higher on the quiz than the students that did text during the lecture.
I hope that you realize the implications of texting in class and what it does to both you and the people around you. If you don’t care about your grades or the class then at least be considerate of the people that do. If you don’t care that people who text in class score significantly lower on tests then the people that don’t then please don’t even bother showing up because your insensitivities are hurting those around you that do care.
What bothers me the most though is when I see you while I’m driving. You might think that you can multitask, or that its okay to just send one quick message, but did you know that five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting? If your traveling at 55 mph that is the length of an entire football field. I hope that helps to put some things into perspective for you. Even just glancing at your phone for a second while you are traveling that fast leaves so much time for you to get into an accident. You are covering a lot more distance than you probably think. In fact, texting while driving makes a driver 23 times more likely to crash. Studies have shown that cellphones cause an average of 1.4 million car crashes a year. I hope you are as shocked as I am about these statistics and I hope hearing those numbers will make you think a little harder the next time you are in your car and you reach for your phone.
I hope that me writing this letter has helped you to realize how your actions affect the people around you. I hope that it has become clear to you that the majority of the people around you do not embrace the actions that you find to be socially acceptable. I hope you consider the implications of your actions and how they affect those around you and I hope you are willing to start making some changes.