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Has Texting Replaced Talking For Teens? 373

Posted by Soulskill
from the children-should-be-seen-and-not-heard dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Sue Shellenbarger has an interesting essay in the WSJ where she talks about the 2,000 incoming text messages her son racks up every month — more than 60 two-way communications via text message every day — and her surprise that 2,000 monthly text messages is about average for today's teenagers. 'I have seen my son suffer no apparent ill effects (except a sore thumb now and then), and he reaps a big benefit, of easy, continuing contact with many friends,' writes Shellenbarger. 'Also, the time he spends texting replaces the hours teens used to spend on the phone; both my kids dislike talking on the phone, and say they really don't need to do so to stay in touch with friends and family.' But does texting make today's kids stupid, as Mark Bauerlein writes in his book ' The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future? 'I don't think so. It may make them annoying, when they try to text and talk to you at the same time,' writes Shellenbarger, adding, 'I have found him more engaged and easier to communicate with from afar, because he is constantly available via text message and responds with a faithfulness and speed that any mother would find reassuring.'"
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Has Texting Replaced Talking For Teens?

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  • 2000!? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Nemyst (1383049) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @12:40PM (#29332183) Homepage
    I was part of the "teenager" definition just few years ago and I believe I sent... 3 SMS in my whole life. Most of my friends also barely sent a handful, the worst maybe sent 10 per day. 2000 is just insane.
  • Re:2000!? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Krneki (1192201) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @12:45PM (#29332213)
    I send 10 mails a day, if you do more or less them me you must be weird.
  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @12:45PM (#29332219) Homepage
    Technology changes. Cultures change to adopt the new technologies. A few years ago the worry was that instant messenger programs would make people dumb. Now its text messaging. There's no indication that any of this is making anyone substantially stupider. The ignorance of general history, science and geography discussed in the Newsweek article aren't new things. It isn't like we were all history buff 30 years ago and now are all ignorant.
  • Re:2000!? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DarkIye (875062) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @12:48PM (#29332247) Journal
    I get that you're being sarcastic, but you're still wrong.
  • Re:2000!? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ilo.v (1445373) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @12:49PM (#29332251)

    I was part of the "teenager" definition just few years ago ...

    Welcome to the old fart's club. Your cabana is right over here. The metamucil is complementary, but you will have to charge the Rogaine and Grecian Formula to your club credit card. Our next group outing is to the Rolling Stone's concert. Don't forget that you are responsible for packing your own oxygen tanks and diapers before boarding the group bus.

  • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross@ ... .ca minus distro> on Sunday September 06, 2009 @12:49PM (#29332255)

    Wow... Americans took an entire decade on what the rest of the world has already been doing...

    NOW its news...

    Give me a freaken break!

  • Captain Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rcolbert (1631881) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @12:54PM (#29332289)
    Texting is popular because it is an extremely efficient method to keep in touch. It's half-duplex, so both parties don't have to be available at the same time. Text messages are brief and quickly digestible, unlike email. One point the story doesn't address is the idea of how many text messages constitute a conversation. Sure, sometimes it's a single message, but often you might find that over the course of an hour you have exchanged more than a dozen messages with the same friend. Given that, I don't think 60 messages a day for a teenager is all that high. It means they have somewhere between two to four friends. And unlike a phone call, you can actually do homework between messages.
  • by Anonymatt (1272506) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @12:55PM (#29332303)

    Yeah, people have a hard time imagining things outside of their lifetime. A few hundred years ago, who could read? Now, when something like widespread texting emerges on the radar, it's like "Oh no, we're dumb. This is it."

    I like to see articles that spread the idea of cultural change being positive.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @12:56PM (#29332311)

    I'm getting REALLY REALLY sick of reading these kinds of reports. Texting is not going to cause the end of civilization or throw us into a depraved existance where nobody sees anyone IRL anymore, and we all are addicted to our technology. This is the baby boomers taking Huxley a bit too seriously. Here's some reality for you: Most of my friends text. Some don't. Of the ones that do, they have a much more active social life and get out of the house a lot more often than those who don't. Texting, and e-mail, and instant messages, is a way for us to all stay in touch with one another in a highly kinetic world where plans are made and broken again in minutes as things change.

    Texting doesn't "replace" talking -- it enables it! Look at your average baby boomer: They usually have less than 5 friends, most of them are coworkers, and if they are married their spouse provides most of the social interaction they're going to get. And they rot away watching TV or with hobbies like gardening. On the flip, you've got our generation where having forty friends on facebook is considered average. I see a friend at least once or twice a day. I get more social interaction in the flesh on an average day that my baby boomer parents and aunts and uncles get in a week, sometimes a month! And texting, email, and instant messaging make all of it possible. How else could we connect with each other in an information-rich world where things are moving so fast and we are all so mobile all the time?

  • On another note (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @12:59PM (#29332333)

    "... But if we laugh with derision, we will never understand. Human intellectual capacity has not altered for thousands of years so far as we can tell. If intelligent people invested intense energy in issues that now seem foolish to us, then the failure lies in our understanding of their world, not in their distorted perceptions. Even the standard example of ancient nonsense -- the debate about angels on pinheads -- makes sense once you realize that theologians were not discussing whether five or eighteen would fit, but whether a pin could house a finite or an infinite number."
    -- S. J. Gould, "Wide Hats and Narrow Minds"

    People who say that successive generations are getting dumber are really just admitting the ignorance they have of the world.

  • by AnAdventurer (1548515) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:01PM (#29332345)
    As a small business owner I have noticed that those "teens" turn in to my employees and think it's ok to text while working and then expect to get "good jobs" for showing up on time to work. In fact; I have a 17 year old girl who seems quite reasonable, say to me after showing up 20 minutes late that she thought, and I quote "I didn't think it was a big deal". This kind of thinking is not isolated, to her , it is very common in this age range of employees.
  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:08PM (#29332389) Homepage
    Having difficult understanding what people are saying is not the same as being dumb. To show they are being dumb you would need t show that they did not have the same degree of conceptual ability as others not using that method of communication. Young people have used all sorts of different slang systems for a long time. Their use of one one finds annoying doesn't mean that the people using it are dumb or that it is making them dumb (even if it does make you or me want to strangle them).
  • by himitsu (634571) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:16PM (#29332451)
    You've missed your demographic here, girlintraining. Telling the /. crowd that they anyone over 30 is wasting away watching TV or *heaven forbid* gardening isn't going to get you far.

    The trouble with your attitude is that once these "new" technologies are introduced the people who grew up using them fall into a trap where the technology defines their lives. Once Facebook turns into Friendster and you have to reestablish your whole social world onto the "new" Facebook are you going to be as wide-eyed and happy talking about the "kinetic" and "information-rich" world?

    /. is full of curmudgeons, eccentrics and free-thinkers and as a member of that set I resent you trying to call us obsolete just because we don't all use the flavor of the week social network you subscribe to.
  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:16PM (#29332457)

    As a small business owner I have noticed that those "teens" turn in to my employees and think it's ok to text while working and then expect to get "good jobs" for showing up on time to work. In fact; I have a 17 year old girl who seems quite reasonable, say to me after showing up 20 minutes late that she thought, and I quote "I didn't think it was a big deal". This kind of thinking is not isolated, to her , it is very common in this age range of employees.

    As a college graduate I have noticed that those "employers" think it's ok to pay minimum wage for graduate level jobs, then make you train your replacement in india because its just too much trouble to pay even enough to allow them to pay rent through perpetual debt.

    This is not isolated to just one employer, so I figure they reap what they sow with people not giving a crap about their precious schedules.

  • The Dumbest Book (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hardburn (141468) <hardburn&wumpus-cave,net> on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:17PM (#29332473)

    I took a quick look at that book on a store shelf once, and it smells of a gigantic "get off my lawn" diatribe.

    First off, the cover comes off as silly. While I get the ironic imagery of Japaneese robots reenacting the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, it also lacks appreciation for the details for the themes explored in Gundam.

    More to the point, there was never some intellectual golden age, during the author's lifetime or otherwise, where people had a broad appreciation for literature, art, and history. A review of the book on Amazon [amazon.com] gives many specific examples of this generation being quite a bit smarter than Bauerlein's own generation.

  • by blattin (1335585) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:18PM (#29332479)

    There's no indication that any of this is making anyone substantially stupider.

    hang around anyone between the age of 12 and 16 and tell me they're not dumb as bricks speaking in chat acronyms rather than expending the exact same number of syllables on the actual words or actually expressing emotions.

    i hate individuals who refuse to use capitalization appropriately in sentences as well. how uncivilized.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:18PM (#29332483)

    A narrowing social sphere isn't because they don't embrace technology. It's because they're older, married, and have kids. It's been that way since the dawn of time. I ask you're parents about college/childhood, and I'll bet they had more friends than they could count. Of course, with the advent of calculators, we actually can count them now. Progress!

  • by yali (209015) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:20PM (#29332491)

    it is very common in this age range of employees

    And there's the key. It isn't about texting or any other technology. It's about the fact that a 17-year-old is still maturing and still learning how to be a responsible adult.

    You didn't always know how important it is to show up on time and be fully mentally engaged with your job. At some point along the way you had to learn that. If you don't remember not knowing that when you were a teenager, it's okay. You probably didn't even realize what you didn't know because you were, you know, a teenager.

    "Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers." - Socrates, 400 BC

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:20PM (#29332497)

    . What happened in the 1950s doesn't have much (if any) relevance to our day to day lives now...

    Truly, your ignorance is astounding. Take a look, for example, at modern Germany and tell me WWII does not still have a profound influence.

  • by Stalyn (662) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:21PM (#29332499) Homepage Journal

    Yeah god forbid.

    Look I agree that texting is not making anyone less intelligent but texting is a watered down form of social interaction. A friend on facebook most of the time is not a real friend. The real threat is creating social interaction without the social connection. Where we reduce people to objects that we interact with rather than someone who lives and breathes.

  • by Vickor (867233) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:27PM (#29332549)

    Sure, but how many of your 40+ employees can key data at over 100 WPM, carry on six different conversations at once (and keep them separated), and perform a rather wide variety of small jobs under rapidly changing circumstances -- and do it well? How many of them will self-organize into groups to tackle a problem without formal leadership?

    I'd put money on the fact that the 17 year old can't do any of these with meaningful results in a business environment.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:27PM (#29332551)

    I think old people are concerned about a perceived lack of self-disciplined development, a meme that seems to have left the modern generation.

    That's so much bullsh*t it's not even funny. No, what they're concerned about is that they don't understand that our generation doesn't need formal leadership in order to organize into groups and tackle problems. You give a group of 18-25ers a problem and say "fix it", and you'll have it fixed in short order. The older generation believes a stricter social hierarchy as necessary to production. Our generation doesn't. So when we attack a problem as we do -- by pulling in our friends, our coworkers, and asking a lot of questions, they view it as a lack of "self-discipline". And they bitch about people being 10 minutes late to their shift -- and think that's more important than the fact that they're doing about twenty different jobs, holding six conversations at once on several different mediums at the same time and doing it well.

    The older generation(s) do not understand that our ways of social interaction require new thinking about the environment and social structures we've long assumed to be natural and unchanging. We're living in an accelerated world -- we can't afford to take time out from this to elect a leader, attend management meetings, and keep to a strict timetable... Our generation has an excellent strength: Balancing many often competing objectives while working in a very socially fluid environment. Or put another way: We are Borg.

  • by drdrgivemethenews (1525877) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:31PM (#29332569)
    My favorite formulation of this principle:

    A conservative is a [person] who believes that nothing should be done for the first time.
    -- Alfred E. Wiggam
  • Re:Captain Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 7-Vodka (195504) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:41PM (#29332633) Journal
    Texting is not particularly efficient imho. What you mean is it's very low bandwidth and low resource intensive and flexible.

    The highest bandwidth way to communicate is face to face, one on one in close proximity and in a suitably quiet environment. There you have multiple parallel high bandwidth streams of communication. There is a high quality voice stream, facial expression recognition, body language, touch, smell and probably more sophisticated lines of communication open. However It can also be the most expensive to set up. It also can require the most preparation attention and sophistication so it probably is the one most likely to cause social anxiety.

    The text message is very different. It's low bandwidth as hell and it has a high ping, so I wouldn't say it's efficient in that respect but since it doesn't require undivided attention from either party or the right environment setup or parsing of several high bandwidth streams it's very much less resource intensive. It's also more flexible and lower social risk since than in person. Errors and miss-statements are assumed very often as miss-interpretation by the recipient and can more easily be corrected or taken back.

    The phone conversation is somewhat in between the two other examples.

    So there are advantages and disadvantages to lots of methods of communication. Is one better than another? Sure for a particular use. Obvious example: Face to face is much better for sexing and text is much better for the break up :>

    But does it mean that being good at one makes you poor at another? Probably not. In fact, being good at more modes of communication only widens your social reach and ability.

    What amazes me about the ignorance of most people towards the topic is:

    1. That anyone is amazed that teenagers are drawn to a method of communication with lower social anxieties
    2. That people don't see the flexibility of texting
    3. That articles about texting get any sort of readership outside the psychology community. It ain't much more than common sense and it's pretty boring imo. I'm bored right now and my post is quite short.
  • by Strange Ranger (454494) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:44PM (#29332651)
    "Compressing your timeframe" means that there is a lot more of history that you are doomed to repeat. It's happening right now. We have a war on drugs, 23% of national income going to the top 1% of earners, we've got tons of folks clamoring for a New Deal and public works, we've seen massive corporatization (media & Internet), we're even having our version of the Red Scare, the list goes on. So yes time is compressed. We're repeating much of 1920-1950 and with new technology we're doing it in a fraction of the time for 100x more people. But you sound like you probably have no idea what I'm talking about? There's a George Orwell quote that would go nicely here.
  • Re:2000!? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Urza9814 (883915) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:50PM (#29332713)

    Yea, I'm a current teen and my cell package is 250 texts a month. Needless to say I keep under that. But then, I also avoid actually _talking_ on the phone like the freakin' plague. If you text or email me, you'll get a reply usually within an hour. If you call me, depending on who you are, it may take _days_ for me to call you back. It's not that I have a problem with talking on the phone, I just don't like talking on the phone where other people can overhear my conversation - which as a teen is pretty much everywhere.

  • by BrokenHalo (565198) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:50PM (#29332727)
    There's no indication that any of this is making anyone substantially stupider.

    This is true. But (anecdotally) a large number of people I know (no matter how intelligent) seem to have acquired an ever-decreasing attention span: people who 15 or 20 years ago used to read through 500-page texts will balk at short articles:

    "tl;dr"

    Likewise, those who will not read a novel if a film has been made of it - a potted version, denuded of all subtlety, is all their mentality is equipped to cope with.

    I'm beginning to doubt the value of instant access to all content; it seems to me that it has a tendency to result in a smaller amount of time allocated to thought.
  • by DavidD_CA (750156) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:52PM (#29332741) Homepage

    I have no basis for this opinion, but I suspect that the trouble you're facing with today's youth is probably the same trouble your parents faced with your generation.

  • by LurkerXXX (667952) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:53PM (#29332749)

    Psst, kid, let me let you in on a secret....

    When the boomers were young, they had really active social lives. They talked to a lot of friends. More than 5, and ones that weren't co-workers. They used to go out all the time and party too. Kinda like you do now.

    Now in a few years, you and your current friends will drift a part a bit. You will likely move different places due to different careers. You will have kids. That keeps you really busy. They will have kids. That will keep them really busy. Your job will be putting way more demands on you. Theirs will too. And guess what? The next generation of kids will have more in the flesh social interactions than you will at that time. Phones didn't save them. Texting wont' save you. That's life.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:54PM (#29332757)

    I was part of the "teenager" definition just few years ago and I believe I sent... 3 SMS in my whole life. Most of my friends also barely sent a handful, the worst maybe sent 10 per day. 2000 is just insane.

    Your comparing 10 a day to 2000 a month.

    In case they can't do it themselves:

    10 Text Messages / day * 30.5 day/mo = 305 Text Messages / Month

    Compared to 2000 / month is less than an order of magnitude. However approaching 100 per day does seem high, until you consider that they're messaging with multiple friends and unlike most email, texting is usually sentences back and forth (a conversation) instead of larger blocks of thoughts at a time.

    The part that seems most ridiculous for this is that carriers charge a default rate of $.25 per message if you don't have some kind of plan. Can you imagine the kids parent's freaking over a $500 phone bill for text messages.

  • by Xin Jing (1587107) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:55PM (#29332767)
    I think there's a huge attraction for young people to communicate without prying ears. I can remember at home using the wired landline and having to stay in one area to have a conversation that was overheard by others. Back then, there were no text messages, emails, instant messages or private lines. Today it's much easier to communicate and share information. It's understood that parents should be involved to some degree in what their children are up to, but part of growing is the cycle of having trust extended and earned. At one point, barring any other extinuating circumstances (pending discipline, recent inapproprate behavior, neglect of responsibility, loss of privledges) kids should have an opportunity to use the trust they have earned while balancing their other obligations. With that said, we all know the upsides to text messages versus phone conversation. It's convenient, you can abbreviate and use symbols, send attchments, communicate silently and have contacts that are in various geographical locations worldwide. I remember speaking in code on the phone back in the day to convey some kid-important message to a friend. We know kids want to talk about what they want to talk about and feel comforatable doing it, why force them to announce it within earshot?
  • by himitsu (634571) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:12PM (#29332901)
    I hadn't realized that I used any Latin ;) You too use your preconceptions to color your views; it's called "experience".
  • by smoker2 (750216) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:23PM (#29332999) Homepage Journal
    Your ignorance truly is astounding. Wars do not spring out of a vacuum. They do not "decide to start bashing the others heads in" because they got out of bed the wrong side. Cultural imperialism is one of the most offensive invasions that a country can experience and yet it's the one the US does best. Still think you need to know nothing about the past ? Or is it nothing to do with you, so long as you can continue to go your own sweet way ignoring the growing anger and dissatisfaction around you. Then when the shit hits the fan, you can claim you never saw it coming - "it's not MY fault".
  • by WCguru42 (1268530) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:23PM (#29333005)

    Likewise, those who will not read a novel if a film has been made of it - a potted version, denuded of all subtlety, is all their mentality is equipped to cope with.

    Simply because you prefer one medium of art over another doesn't mean that it is inherently better. The important aspect is the ability to understand and express your thoughts and opinions in meaningful ways. I have friends who've spent hundreds of dollars on books. I prefer to spend my money on music, it means more to mean and I get more out of music than I do from books. Others get more from the art of film than they do from books, still others find meaningful expression in paintings. It doesn't mean that one is better than the other, it's simply that one connects with the individual more profoundly.

  • by ffflala (793437) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:27PM (#29333055)

    As a small business owner I have noticed that those "teens" turn in to my employees and think it's ok to text while working and then expect to get "good jobs" for showing up on time to work. In fact; I have a 17 year old girl who seems quite reasonable, say to me after showing up 20 minutes late that she thought, and I quote "I didn't think it was a big deal". This kind of thinking is not isolated, to her , it is very common in this age range of employees.

    A lot of jobs certainly require punctuality --air traffic controllers, emergency room docs and nurses, hell even opening up the store on time. Yet often a demand for strict punctuality is simply a way to reinforce the boundaries between employer & employee, a way to reinforce who's in control. In a lot of jobs --especially the kind that a teenager would hold-- strict punctuality isn't particularly necessary for the job itself, so much as it reflects an employee's willingness to follow orders.

    The emergence of flexible employee hours for positions that don't actually require strict timeliness demonstrates an employer's respect for his/her employees' time, and can ultimately result in higher productivity. This is a concept that is missing from the more traditional view that it is an absolute imperative that you clock in and out at precise times. Maybe your chronically late employee would be very well suited and highly productive in a position where being 20 minutes late actually isn't a big deal.

  • Stupid? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SlashDev (627697) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:33PM (#29333101) Homepage
    What makes teens stupid these days certainly isn't texting; it is the lousy below standard education, TV brainwashing, and the "American dream" house, that sits on a lot 100 miles away from any museum, cultural center and interaction with day-to-day events.
  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:35PM (#29333115)

    Your ignorance truly is astounding.

    You can repeat that as many times as you want, but it doesn't help your position any. In fact, it makes you look rather childish.

    Wars do not spring out of a vacuum.

    No, but they spring from the same basic causes time after time. I don't need to know about every war ever fought to know the causes of war.

    Cultural imperialism is one of the most offensive invasions that a country can experience and yet it's the one the US does best.

    Cultural imperialism sounds really impressive. But you want to know what it's really about? Change. It's one group choosing to merge with another group in order to achieve some benefit. Culture is nothing more than a system of coping strategies we impose between ourselves and our physical and social environment. If one culture is better at dealing with the problems of its physical and social environment than another, it makes perfect sense to adopt those strategies. It's maladaptive to fight them, but alas -- it is in our nature to resist change even when its good for us. This is one of the main causes of war: Fear of change.

    Still think you need to know nothing about the past?

    Yeah, actually. I don't need to know specifics: I need to know patterns, I need to understand why things happen. Examples can help with that, but they're not intrinsically needed.

    Or is it nothing to do with you, so long as you can continue to go your own sweet way ignoring the growing anger and dissatisfaction around you.

    I don't ignore it. But I'm not responsible for others' anger and dissatisfaction either.

    Then when the shit hits the fan, you can claim you never saw it coming - "it's not MY fault".

    The funny thing about shit hitting the fan is that it usually goes everywhere, including back the way it came. At that point, there are three choices: Work together to clean up the mess, Fight to see who cleans up the mess, or decide that it just isn't worth cleaning up and go somewhere else. Fault is entirely irrelevant in the decision-making process.

  • by sznupi (719324) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:57PM (#29333317) Homepage

    I think it can be more simple than that. Many people, at some point, start to assume that everything was better when they were young to...cope with getting old. It's their way of dealing with grief when seeing many new possibilities that current youth has, and the "festival of youth" that happens around them - dismissing them as gimmicks and/or harmful. They can't find greater value in their current/future life, so they try to not see it in those whose life will be longer.

    Accidentally, I believe realizing it and that current times ARE better then ever (and will be) is a large part of "not getting old".

  • by smoker2 (750216) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @03:00PM (#29333331) Homepage Journal

    As long as you can communicate intelligibly with other people, it doesn't matter what dialect, accent, medium, or slang is used. "Proper language" isn't necessary for some groups -- someone who is poor and grew up on the street has little need to read/write the Queen's english well.

    If you can't communicate properly, you are limited to communicating only with those within your own group you can physically speak to. You don't have the skill to write a sensible document. And if you are poor and grew up on the street, you are going to stay there unless you can advance beyond grunts and slang.

    It always amuses me how people who reject intelligent culture and identify with people of lesser ability are actually doing more to maintain the class divide than the ones who speak and write correctly. Ironic considering they claim "it doesn't matter".

    Here is a real quote from a trucking website, see if you can spot the problem :

    hgv lineces
    hi guys im 19 and have done two yeasr in haulage one in the yard the orther van driving, i can rope and sheet no problem.i want to do my hgv at next year but havent got a clue were to start i was wondering if any can give me some pointersin the rite direction ie cost and stuff like that thanks

    This guy is asking for help from people he appears to respect. How much effort went into that post ? He might claim to do better if he was writing to apply for a job, but I doubt it somehow. If you can do it, you always do it (barring typos), you don't just drop into illiteracy as if you were taking off your coat.

    You might claim that because you can understand it, everything's rosy - not so. If you can't pay attention to even the most basic details in your off duty life, who is going to believe that you will suddenly start when you're on duty ? Not to mention that the employers start to think they can get away with dropping the wages because we're not worth the money.

    On a larger scale I think it has to do with entropy. Recently we have had discussions on here regarding the apparent slowdown in new technology and development. From what I can see, back when education was seen as the thing to do to get on in life, people worked hard and fought to retain what they had achieved. These days, the generation who should be fighting for something are simply involved in destroying or at least disregarding what came before, just because they can't be bothered to take their hands out of their pockets. 'It doesn't matter' has become a mantra, one which I know you will live to see the error of.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 06, 2009 @03:01PM (#29333343)

    I agree, most American's are substantially dumber now than the rest of the world. They have poorer reading skills, poorer vocabulary and in most cases have very poor reasoning skills.
    On the other side I'm sure it's not the texting or the instant messaging. It's just a poor education system, it's probably 2 generations ago or so that American's were more up on science and technology and geography etc. But this is yet another example of a country that is becoming an empire in the wrong way.
      America used to discover and make the best products, now they sit and wait for poor quality and design from China and the other countries that America exploits for cheap labour.
    You wonder why your jobs are leaving, but can't make the effort to buy the products still made in America.

  • by smoker2 (750216) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @03:16PM (#29333463) Homepage Journal
    Here's a tip - just because you know their number doesn't make them your friend. You will be lucky to have 3 true friends in your whole life. Would you be prepared to house and feed all your facebook "friends" for a month if they suddenly turned up out of the blue ?
  • baha sure (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 06, 2009 @03:21PM (#29333529)

    I sat around recently having an engaging conversation with older cousins while a group of younger cousins sat there watching us and not saying a peep. We were TV. They laughed, reacted some times but didn't engage. It was kinda sad.

  • Re:2000!? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @03:31PM (#29333631)

    For casual conversations in a lot of circles, texting has almost completely replaced phone calls. Actual phone calls are only useful anymore when something is time critical or the conversation would have a lot of back and forth discussion or details.

    That's what a "conversation" -is-.

    If what are you doing can be accomplished via texting it is either:

    a) not a conversation
    b) a stupidly inefficient conversation (as in 30 minutes to accomplish with a 2 minute phone call)

    Texting is fine if you just want to send 'hey whats up' or 'I'm on my way' or a 'catch a movie tonight?' or 'which pub, what time?'

    But people racking up 2000+ messages a month are usually just wasting time. If a text message exchagne exceeds about 5 messages, you'd have been better off with a phone call in terms of time, and in terms of building a real connection with someone.

    The big 'advantage' of text message conversations is that they SEEM less intrusive. You APPEAR to have a conversation with someone whithout stopping what you are doing. Thing is, its complete bullshit. I used to watch TV/movies with my wife while she text messaged her friends. She thought it was 'good' because she didn't have to pause for 5-10 minutes to have a conversation. But it drove me fucking nuts with the little alerts going off and her constant clicking away on her phone. And it turns out that despite the fact that she thought she could do both at once, she ended up missing half the show.

    Pausing it for 10 minutes, and just having a conversation works far better. Point is: texting is more disruptive and rude to the people you are with than takign the occasional phone call. Being completely interrupted once in a while for a couple minutes is better than being half ignored for 40 minute stretches.

  • by smoker2 (750216) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @03:42PM (#29333713) Homepage Journal

    You're obsolete because you can't see anything except through the colored lenses of your own preconceptions.

    HA HA HA ! Look who's talking ! It's not our preconceptions, it's our EXPERIENCE ! You think you know it all, you will live forever and nothing done before will ever come close to your achievements. I hope you remember all this in 20 years time. I doubt you will even recognise yourself.

    As for the notion that giving a task to a group of 18 to 20 year olds will get the job done quicker and more efficiently than under *normal* rules, HA HA HA ! I can tell you *from experience* that is simply untrue. You may find in a group of 20 people that 1 tries hard and is semi-competent, 3 or 4 will try but are totally incompetent and the rest will slack off when no-one's looking. None of them will have any common sense whatsoever. Apart from the first 4 or 5, the rest will claim "it doesn't matter". They will then live out their lives feeling like they have somehow been cheated out of their god given right to be rich and famous, while passing on their erroneous attitude of entitlement to their neglected children.

    I didn't used to be like this you know. I've always believed that anything I can do, you can do, and vice versa. But nothing comes easy, so I'm prepared to work to get there. I take it as a huge insult when people who I respect as equals take no interest in meeting me half way. Instead I'm called a fool, and everything I've every worked to uphold is denigrated and ignored as unnecessary. The younger generation have the attitude of someone who is born wealthy then pisses it all away on drugs, cars and plastic surgery, only to end up penniless as well as clueless. We built this world for you to continue building upon. We've tried to give you a decent foundation, tried to prevent you making stupid mistakes and repeating past work. But you seem hell bent on ripping it all up just because you think you know better.

    You don't know better, and if you're not careful, you'll get everything you want. I hope I'm dead before then.

  • by uncqual (836337) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @03:48PM (#29333773)
    Hmm.... The outcome of WWII led to the USSR, which in turn led to the Cold War, which in turn lead to the space race, which in turn contributed to a massive focus on science and technology in the US -- yielding DARPA and the internet. So, without WWII, who knows how we would be communicating right now - perhaps on an old rotary dial phone, perhaps via snail mail, or perhaps via something far advanced beyond what we can even imagine. But, it's pretty safe to say that we would not be communicating on something called Slashdot.

    Needless to say, not communicating on /. would be among the least significant differences between your life with WWII vs. without WWII.
  • by smoker2 (750216) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @03:55PM (#29333833) Homepage Journal
    Texting is to writing as grunting is to speaking, as a mud hut is to the Taipei tower.
  • by c6gunner (950153) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @04:23PM (#29334015)

    Sure, but how many of your 40+ employees can key data at over 100 WPM, carry on six different converations at once (and keep them separated), and perform a rather wide variety of small jobs under rapidly changing circumstances -- and do it well

    1. Keying in data at 100 WPM is useless if they drp karakters and fsck up speling.
    2. Most teenagers don't seem to be able to hold even one conversation of any substance, let alone 6.
    3. Getting them to do ANY job usually involves wads of money in one hand, and a tazer in the other. Never mind changing circumstances, I'd just like to see one load a dishwasher without screwing it up having to be supervised.

    How many of them will self-organize into groups to tackle a problem without formal leadership?

    Hah. Organized teens. That's funny.

  • If you're talking politics, much of what current liberals want has been tried before, and it officially collapsed Christmas Day, 1991. I think they're too young to recall the bad old days, or else they didn't read their history books enough.

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    -Einstein

    -From a conservative who is tired of re-trying things that didn't work last time.

  • by KingAlanI (1270538) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @05:28PM (#29334441) Homepage Journal

    Always find it kind of ironic when these kinds of comments are coming form people of the hippie era.
    Don't think it's restricted to that generation though, it seems to be a recurring pattern.

    Musical tastes probably are a clear example of this, and it's probably easier to compare the "bashing the young kids' music" phenomenon across different eras; that's happened before, although the "bashing texting" thing is relatively new since texting itself is relatively new.

  • by dotgain (630123) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @05:48PM (#29334581) Homepage Journal

    10 Text Messages / day * 30.5 day/mo = 305 Text Messages / Month.
    Compared to 2000 / month is less than an order of magnitude.

    About Orders of Magnitude:

    1. They don't make you sound intelligent here, even if you are one of the few to use the term correctly
    2. They're just not always an appropriate way of comparing two figures - you end up sounding like a pretentious twat.

    Do you want one kick in the balls, or eight? The two numbers are within an order, so it's all academic, right?

  • by w0mprat (1317953) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @06:30PM (#29334869)
    Most text messages are one or two sentences, sometimes with only a few words, the average text is probably under 10 words in length. Then when you consider 2000 a month is 66 per day, this kid is managing less than 600 words per day by text message. Thats peanuts. What's that really, two or three emails, slashdot rants, one phone conversation?

    I really think there is no plausible basis to the assumption texting is replacing conversation as the prosetlyising of a generation of paranoid parents implies.

    I think text messaging fills a gap, a need not previously met. It enables communication where otherwise we'd have kept our thoughts to ourselves or just plain been out of contactable reach:

    It fits where you want to send a few thoughts, but there isn't really enough reason to waste someones time in a full conversation or you'd otherwise be out of contact.
  • by jellomizer (103300) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @06:56PM (#29335029)

    Every generation is considered worse then the previous...

    20's Jazz Music and dancing will corrupt the Generation and make them dumb.
    30's Cinema will corrupt the Generation and make them dumb.
    40's Umm Historically I am not to sure. They just kinda went to world war II
    50's Comic Book will corrupt the Generation and make them dumb.
    60's Rock And Roll will corrupt the Generation and make them dumb.
    70's Disco will corrupt the Generation and make them dumb.
    80's TV will corrupt the Generation and make them dumb.
    90's Web/Instant Messages will corrupt the Generation and make them dumb.
    00's Texting will corrupt the Generation and make them dumb.

  • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @08:04PM (#29335505)

    One of the great ironies of life: Every generation thinks it's the perfect generation. Their parents are too old and reserved, their children too wild and unruly.

    They're right, in that sense. They just don't realize that they're the children now and the parents later.

  • Re:2000!? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StuartHankins (1020819) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @08:27PM (#29335631)
    Mod parent up.

    I have a 15-year-old daughter with a texting plan. Her constant texting -- when we're at the movie theater, when we're at the grocery store, when we're watching TV on the sofa, when we're driving somewhere -- drives me crazy too. I can't have a clear conversation with her when that damn thing is going off constantly. Suggesting she turn it off is taken as if I'm asking her to amputate her leg (and as the noncustodial parent with an uncaring ex I can't really force the issue).

    I was always brought up that you don't answer the phone when you have company, unless there's some unavoidable event. It makes the person you're with feel like a third wheel if you bring out the phone and maddeningly punch buttons while they're trying to maintain eye contact with you and have a conversation. That's usually the opposite from your intended reaction in having them over in the first place.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 06, 2009 @08:56PM (#29335813)

    I seem to remember Gen X kids being accused of the same things when we were teenagers (lazy, out of touch, stupid, etc). Guess what? The boomers were accused of the same thing by their parents.

    Frankly, I think the kids coming up nowadays are a lot more sane about some stuff (drugs, for example) than we were. Less race riots in schools, too.

    But come on, when did Slashdot become overrun with geezers? You pick a few examples and apply a broad brush to an entire generation from a few selected anecdotes. If you could point to studies that show declining IQ scores, I'd be a little worried. Complaining about teens being lazy? Aristotle did that, and he was as correct then as the old farts before their time that are grousing on this story are now. Live a little, and get some perspective.

  • by Chemisor (97276) on Monday September 07, 2009 @10:42AM (#29340161)

    Concepts and, therefore, language, are primarily a tool of cognition -- not communication, as is usually assumed. Communication is merely the consequence, not the cause nor the primary purpose of concept formation -- a crucial consequence, of invaluable importance to men, but still only a consequence. Cognition precedes communication; the necessary precondition of communication is that one have something to communicate. The primary purpose of concepts and of language is to provide man with a system of cognitive classification and organization, which enables him to acquire knowledge on an unlimited scale; this means: to keep order in man's mind and enable him to think. - Ayn Rand, "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology"

    As a continuation of the above and related to this thread's subject, I would suggest that the form of your language really does matter, because it shapes the way you think. Texting limits the conceptual breadth of the language, which in turn limits its users' capacity for intelligent thought.

  • by ClosedSource (238333) on Monday September 07, 2009 @12:26PM (#29341287)

    Texting seems to me to combine all the disadvantages of a phone call and email - immediate interruption and typing.

  • Re:2000!? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by base698 (1372877) on Tuesday September 08, 2009 @12:51PM (#29353159)
    The big advantage of text messaging is concurrent conversation with many people. Seeing the advantage of this by computer programmers and tech people should be beyond obvious... Trying to coordinate a night out with 5 people? You can wait to talk to all five or mass message them and reply as they reply.

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