Sunday, July 1, 2012

Texting Causes "Blindness"

Recently I have been privy to observe some teenage girls texting each other.  I'll admit, I am shocked at the ease with which they are able to text hateful and mean spirited messages back and forth.  I started taking notice to the things young kids were posting on each other's Facebook walls, as well.  The name calling, bullying and insults fly back and forth without them ever batting an eye.  And why should they bat that proverbial eye?  They are not present to see the damage their words are causing the the person to whom they're being spoken.  In this manner, texting can cause blindness.  If we can't see it, we're not responsible for it.

I fear that we are raising a generation that can say things through texting, twitter, Facebook and the likes, without having to face or "see" the consequences and the damage their words cause.  It's so easy for them to call people names and tell them they hate them, when they're not standing face to face with the person. If we, as parents, are not careful, we will have children who grow up, completely cold, calloused and blind to the feelings of others.

When I was growing up ("texting", "Facebook" and "twitter" had never even been heard of), we didn't even talk to each other like that over the phone, much less, in person.  I remember being angry with friends and my parents taking me over to their houses to talk to them and work out our issues.  It was never easy to look a friend or a school mate in the eye and tell them how I felt or accuse them of something I thought they had done.  But there's something to be said for looking someone in the eye and gauging our language and tone of voice on how they are reacting to what they are being told.

How easy is it to type in a text and tell somebody off, or to be cruel over Facebook posts, or call someone names on twitter?  Mean and hurtful words cause pain and damage.  People are less likely to use those kinds of words if they are face to face with someone.  If we do say something cruel to a person we are standing in front of, we are forced to see the effects our words cause.

How will the next generation communicate effectively, when most communication is done through electronic means now.  It's much easier to "shoot" someone a "happy birthday" message on their Facebook page rather than take the time to go pick out a birthday card and drop it in the mail.  It takes little or no emotional toll or responsibility to break up with someone over a text.  And, heck, why not quit a job via email?

We have to lead by example.  If our children constantly see us sending texts to friends, relatives and spouses,  they will not learn to communicate by talking directly with people.  I'm not saying that social media is bad, per se.  I use it, myself.  But I am a firm believer in face to face or over the phone conversations whenever possible.  I prefer looking someone in the eye and seeing their reaction to my words and adjusting accordingly.  Sometimes I may need to be firmer in my words and tone, and other times, I need to soften how I'm saying something. How could I ever discern that through a text?

If you are a parent, I challenge you, to make sure that your children know how to hold tough conversations, be responsible for the consequences of their words, and to understand the effects their words have on the person they are speaking them to.  Let's make sure that they grow up as caring and compassionate people, understanding the power of their words.

From His Lap,



30 comments:

  1. Just had one of those tough discussions with my 7 year old this week over something she did. Explained in great deal with her the consequences to her actions and how it was not acceptable. Also gave her discipline that will last all summer.

    I think telling her she had lost my trust and I was disappointed where the biggest parts that got her most though.

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    1. I know just what you mean. Growing up, the worst (or best) discipline was just knowing I had let my parents down! Thanks so much for stopping by!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  2. Very insightful post. Also, on the other token, instead of people sending out a handwritten thank you card often thank you emails or texts are sent instead and I am just as guilty of this!

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    1. Carrie, there are some people that we don't personally know or that we don't know well, that an email is just fine. It's just when human contact is replaced by technology, that we forget how to relate to humans and experience the sight and sound of human interaction! Thank you so much for visiting!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  3. This is too true - and scary. Kids need to be responsible about heir communication. Kids rely on their parents for guidance but some parents don't even know how to text or FB.
    Leigh
    www.oneandoneequalstwinfun.com

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    1. You're right, Leigh. Nothing can replace human contact and communication! As parents, we are responsible for teaching them this! If they don't see parents or teachers or other adults in their lives, communication with care and compassion, they won't learn it on their own!
      I'm so glad you stopped by!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  4. Erin what a great post! You are so right, we were just talking about this at dinner with our son. He was saying that the whole facebook thing scares him because it seemed like people could get so mean so quickly on it. And he has never been on it, he just hears things about it. You really get to the point very quickly, it is much easier to say hurtful or mean comments since there is no real human contact. We do need to make sure our children really see us in their lives, not just the back of our heads or our quick texts about where to pick them up! Thanks for a great reminder!! Much love my dear friend!! xo

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    1. Aw, thank you, Kathy! I am guilty of being so busy that I ignore the very things that my kids need from me sometimes. I am making a conscious effort to be more aware! That's awesome that your son see this at his age. It sounds like he is a very caring young man!
      I love you, sister!
      ~Erin

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  5. I too am more for the kids to write handwritten notes or call up the other party to express their gratitute then texting as it is very impersonal.

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    1. Dominique, it teaches them so much about communication and being kind, doesn't it!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  6. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Our world is changing and as technology takes the front seat, sensitivity to others and even the basic ability to communicate with someone in person is threatened in the process. Awesome post! ~Hugs, xoxo

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    1. Thanks, Mitzi! I want my kids to be able to look someone in the eye and be able to say what they have to say, without killing someone with their words!
      I love when you visit here!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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    1. Thank you, Elisabeth! I'm so glad you stopped by!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  8. Excellent article, Erin. And I love the title! I, too, am concerned about this texting age. Thank you for this! Blessings to you!

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    1. Thank you, Lynn! From some of the texts I've seen, I'm concerned too! Thanks for stopping by!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  9. You are so right. Even for me, it is easier to say something by email or on the phone rather than in person. Of course, I don't say anything hateful. I'm just not very assertive when I'm face to face with someone & have a really hard time telling someone "no" in person. I'm still not all that assertive by email either, but I find it easier than in person - in some situations, like when my professor semt me an upsetting email last semester. I never could have told her how I felt to her face.

    So far (knock on wood), by daughters haven't had problems with bullying and such through text, fb, etc, but I know it happens, and you are right, parents have to set the example by talking in person more than by email or text. (Of course, the only people I text are my daughters, because they just will not answer their phone :)

    Stopping by from VoiceBoks!

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    1. It sounds like you have great daughters, Laura. I'm glad that you keep track of their texting and social media. I'm sorry that you had that experience with you professor. Sometimes, it's best to let thinks go for a while before we respond.

      I'm so glad you stopped by!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  10. I completely agree! I think these younger generations will have trouble communicating in person. It will be interesting to see down the road actually. There needs to be some basic etiquette in place, like the way we teach them to hold a door, remove your hat, etc. We don't really have manners in place for all of this new technology yet.

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    1. Courtney, you are so right. I'm afraid we won't see the total effects of this until we are down the road some. I hope that we aren't sadly disappointed.
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  11. I meant to comment on this when I was in California. This was such a great post. Funny thing is that I was thinking something similar as we were visiting friends and I was reminding my boy to stay off of his phone because it's rude when visiting people. How we need to engage with people. He did a great job! Thanks for the reminder! :)

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    1. Shannon, I'm so glad you stopped by! It always makes me smile when I hear parents reminding their kids to mind their manners! My kids probably thought I was a nag, but they are so polite now, because of it!
      Blessings,
      ~erin

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  12. Love this. Thank you for diversifying your topics and writing this message. We are living in the most desensitized time in our history. Unfortunately hateful words can progress to hateful actions. And to see young people committing suicide over FB bullying – heartbreaking.
    Dianne

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    1. Dianne, you are right...it's truly heartbreaking. I hope parents take a more active role in policing the bullying!
      Love you, sister!
      ~Erin

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  13. I have several nieces and nephews on Facebook. Some of the nephews I had to remove because of the awful things they were saying to their own sisters. In ways our society is becoming so cold hearted, yet in other ways I have made warm friends over the internet.

    Thanks for your wisdom and for posting about this prevalent issue.

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    1. Becky, isn't it crazy the way kids talk to each other. It just shocks and dismays me. I know it saddens the heart of our Father.
      Love you, sister!
      ~Erin

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  14. Another lovely side effect of our technological generation is that with the inhibitions gone (thanks to not seeing reactions) a large percentage of teens with cell phones are more likely to have pre-marital sex. I don't think this technology is necessary for teens. My daughter doesn't have one. She doesn't need it. If she does, she can take mine and call her Dad's. We have made our kids feel like they should have everything they want just for existing. I am terrified of growing old and having to depend on these generations!

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    1. It's so important to be aware of what our kids are doing and saying. They can get themselves in trouble before they even realize what's happened. It's our job as parents to let them test their wings, but make sure they stay within their boundaries so that they don't end up getting hurt by childish mistakes!
      Thank you so much for stopping by!
      Blessings,
      ~Erin

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  15. Erin, I believe we need to teach our children to be respectful. I mention in one of my blog post "Technology Friend or Foe?" how we as parents should put limits on the amount of time our children spend consuming technology. Ask questions and see what they up to. Not policing just parenting. Oh and by the way Erin, I added a link on my blog to your blog. I think it was more for me than my readers. LOL.. Love Your Blog

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    1. Vernon, you bless me with your kind comments. I'll have to ck out your post that you mention above. I'm on vacation and my internet is very spotty. I may have to read it when I get home. I'm honored that you added my link to your site!
      You are a blessing!
      ~Erin

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Thank you for giving us a little nugget of truth from your heart!

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