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Text messaging and social media are ruining communication

By Massimo Donato
On March 19, 2010

 From the 1990's through today the preferred methods of communication have clearly changed. From text messaging to social networking, technology has advanced to the point that devices that can do more now than ever, but seem to be more of a distraction than a method of communication. As we depend more on our technology, communication has become steadily more impersonal.

With 66 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 24 texting while driving, it comes as no surprise that states have enforced legislature that bans this. While these adults may think they are merely enjoying the latest technology, they are endangering themselves, other drivers and pedestrians. This alone shows that we have a society that tends to value the people on the other end of the microchips rather than those directly around us.

On university campuses, students seem to rely more on taking notes on laptops or other digital devices. While this can facilitate learning, it can also be a distraction in the classroom as many students are apt to entertain themselves in other ways during lectures. The availability of technology and the ability to stay in constant communication with others has made a student's social life more important than education, or staying alert in situations that can become potentially dangerous.

This trend of multi-tasking has also created a culture where people are less invested in the world directly around them. Someone might be out with their family, but Facebooking someone they met the other night and texting their friends at the same time. The result is that we miss out on experiences because our focus is too split to just enjoy a moment.

Think about how many people walk around campus completely oblivious to the world, with their faces turned down to their smartphones and plugged into their mp3 players. While they are digitally connected and their online lives are flourishing, in the real world they function on autopilot.

Technology has grown in both use and functionality, but we have to be careful as it progresses that we do not let it just take over our lives and forget about the world around us. Texting and social-networking are here to stay, but we should exercise good judgment while using them, and refrain in the classroom and on the road.

This lapse in quality time spent with one another–outside of multi-player games–may have far-reaching side-affects. Instead of interacting and developing social skills at an early age, kids willing isolated themselves. Although the people on World of Warcraft may seem like friends, nothing can replace face-to-face interaction. America's current obesity epidemic is another unfortunate symptom of our preoccupation with all things digital.

Video games have without a doubt been a major cause of childhood obesity. Already eight of ten people over the age of 25 are overweight. The obesity epidemic is a endemic in our culture. Something clearly needs to change.

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