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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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  • 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.
    • by antifoidulus (807088) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @12:50PM (#29332261) Homepage Journal
      Yes, but think how many 80s sitcom jokes about teenage girls tying up the phone lines are now incomprehensible to today's hip youth culture.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by jslater25 (1005503)
        My 13 year old son manages to tie up his cell phone line by texting... Apparently when a call comes in he 'accidentally' sends it straight to voice mail because he is texting.
    • 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 @01:10PM (#29332419)

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

        "Feeling the press of complexity upon the emptiness of life, people are fearful of the thought that at any moment things might be thrust out of control. They fear change itself, since change might smash whatever invisible framework seems to hold back chaos for them now. For most Americans, all crusades are suspect, threatening. The fact that each individual sees apathy in his fellows perpetuates the common reluctance to organize for change." -- Students for Democratic Society, Port Huron Statement, June 15, 1962

        Fifty years later, this same generation now looks fearfully upon social change it once demanded... And yet I see no fault in any generation we have a memory of. Such is the nature of the human condition: We fear what we do not understand, and we're predisposed to stick with what works instead of trying something new. I can hear the voices of generations past: "Leave trying new things to the young, right? We only have so much energy... Put it towards something we know will pay off."

      • I don't see the attraction of texting, but I use IM a lot. The difference is that IM is free, texting costs about as much per message as a minute of phonecall. If you want a reply, you can call and talk for a minute and it's generally both faster and cheaper than sending a text. The real problem I have with texts, though, is that I don't really use my phone for anything other than calls and SMS, so if I don't hear it beep, I don't see the text until the next time I go to do something with my phone, which
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      The ignorance of general history, science and geography discussed in the Newsweek article aren't new things.

      In the 1950s, recent history was what has happened in the last hundred years. Nowadays, thanks to what could be terms a cultural compression -- recent history is what has happened in the last decade. The older generation(s) like to point to this and say we've gotten dumber... The truth is we've just changed our scope. What happened in the 1950s doesn't have much (if any) relevance to our day to day lives now... What happened even ten years ago now has only limited importance.

      Don't judge people based on thei

      • 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 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.
      • by Moridineas (213502) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:50PM (#29332711) Journal

        What happened even ten years ago now has only limited importance.

        With all due respect, that's a horrendously dumb statement. If you really do mean that, I think you've just perfectly illustrated one of the issues with current generations!

        Don't judge people based on their memory or caring for esoteric issues that might have affected life in the "distant" past (for people my age, that's anything more than about 30 years ago) -- they know just as many fungible facts as their older counterparts, it's just about a smaller period of time.

        That's just the thing. Humans have been around a long time, we've done a lot of things, and we've thought about a lot of things. If you limit yourself to only caring about things that happened in the last decade (or as you later expand it, the last 30 years) you're missing out on the vast majority of the human experience! Art, music, literature, philosophy. If you don't care about any of those things > 30 years old, you're both ignorant and missing out (IMHO of course).

        It's this exact same kind of myopic "ignore all but the present" viewpoint that makes people make the same mistakes over and over and over again. Moreover, to people who don't have such a myopic view, the myopes are just really uninteresting people by and by.

        I'm in my late-20s. I'm not one to claim that certain generations are better or not, because as one historiographer wrote (roughly paraphrased) each generation is less than the one before it, the youth today are merely shadows of their parents. Everybody has ALWAYS felt the next generation is going to hell, and we've done ok so far. Or take the ancient Greeks who lamented the anemic memories of students who learned reading and writing. Etc. My concerns are more along the lines that I think that the MASSES of the facebook-texting-always in contact-always on the grid-don't have to remember ANYTHING because I can look it up instantly generations (of which I am a solid member) are prone to change society in ways I personally don't like and don't think are positive. Thus is life though.

    • 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 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 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.

  • 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!

  • pb (Score:4, Funny)

    by Hognoxious (631665) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @12:50PM (#29332267) Homepage Journal

    I have seen my son suffer no apparent ill effects (except a sore thumb now and then)

    She thinks it's texting that causes that?

  • 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.
    • Text messages are brief and quickly digestible, unlike email.

      Sounds like we are prepping society for blipverts [wikipedia.org]

    • I think the reason texting got popular was because you can do it silently in class.

      I don't know about homework, it seems homework can be done while talking, texting would completely divert attention between two different things rather than doing both at the same time, people can talk and read/write at the same time, but I doubt people can read and write two totally different things in the same instant.

    • 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 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?

    • I think old people are concerned about a perceived lack of self-disciplined development, a meme that seems to have left the modern generation. Maybe it's true, maybe not. One thing is for sure - it's very hard to say what the effect will be.

      Personally I think it is a step forward. Furthermore, the decline of social mores towards self-mastery is a little exaggerated, and is an unrelated issue in any case.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        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 askin

        • by microbox (704317)
          I appreciate where you're coming from. And you are correct. But bear this [youtube.com] in mind.

          Surely you don't think that you're part of the first ever generation to have no regrets? One can't grow personally without being grounded.
        • by Moridineas (213502) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:07PM (#29332853) Journal

          I work with a lot of < 30 year olds. I am < 30.

          The problem with the Humanity 2.0 types that you seem to be describing is that those people who are constantly bragging about multitasking, tend to be REALLY bad at it without realizing. Sometimes being able to twitter, facebook, and look up facts on wikipedia at the same time is NOT the desired or needed skillset. In my experience, the younger generations (self included) DO hate traditional hierarchies--with good cause! I quit my government job that I enjoyed because the bureaucracy was just unbearable. They currently have a HUGE attrition rate of 20-somethings who feel the same way. Yet, I've also found that those who rail the most against the hierarchies and authority frequently seem to be the ones who need the most oversight to get anything accomplished. Ironic?

          Your most telling statement:

          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.

          Maybe you just THINK you're doing it well. Being late to a shift/work IS a big deal (if consistently so). It's pretty selfish to think otherwise. You're absolutely right that we are living in an "accelerated" world and that a lot of older practices are obsolete and diminishing as we speak. The inward facing solipsism you express is troubling though--ever think that there might be value in other ways of working, other people's viewpoints, beyond your preconceived notions of how the World 2.0 ought to work?

          When you say

          Our generation has an excellent strength: Balancing many often competing objectives while working in a very socially fluid environment

          I'd agree and add:

          Our generation has an horrible weakness: Actually getting things done

          You may have seen several slashdot articles relating to this (first one is pretty interesting IMHO)

          Habitual Multitaskers Do It Badly
          http://slashdot.org/story/09/08/25/1245221/Habitual-Multitaskers-Do-It [slashdot.org]

          http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/01/27/2221228 [slashdot.org]

        • by Stiletto (12066) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:38PM (#29333145)

          Our generation has an excellent strength: Balancing many often competing objectives while working in a very socially fluid environment.

          That's not as great a job skill as it sounds, really. When I read your status report for the week and it says "Got 50% of the way through five projects" that's not as impressive as the older guy's whose report reads "Finished and shipped that one critical project."

    • 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 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 Stalyn (662)

      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.

    • I'm 38, so from the generation before "texting" came along. Still, I'm a big proponent of communications technologies of ALL types. (In fact, that's really why I'm still involved in the computer field today. I got hooked on computers in the 80's, with a Timex Sinclair 1000 PC that only had 2K of RAM and no modem available for it. It was interesting writing my own programs in BASIC and playing games on it, etc. etc. But eventually, I grew bored with it. When I upgraded to a TRS-80 with a 300 baud modem

    • 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by smoker2 (750216)
      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 ?
    • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @05:00PM (#29334257)
      Right on, Sister! Fight the power! All these big daddies are just aging wannabe hepcats. They are so uncool! So square! They just don't groove to our crazy lingo, you dig? They're such drags, such freams! Our gen has it made in the shade with our omnitasking powers of metathink and nonlinear preceptrons in the temporal. I think it's time to text the droogs together for an indulgence in ultraviolence to pilot our savvy into the record, tight me? If the dudes come through with their yarbles in dobby condition, we can spend some hourage back at the crib with the old lubbilubbing.
  • 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 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.

      • Just to reassure you. I run a business (well, I do a lot of the tech and paperwork, my wife does the fun stuff) that provides parties for little kids. We hire young people and give them responsibility as they grow. I pay $9 an hour to start for work that is fun and easy. I tried minimum wage and got what I paid for.

        Your example is why I don't work in the real world. I am the worst employee EVER. I have had a few "jobs" in my life, the longest was in the Army (no much choice there) and I have worked everyth

    • 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.

      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? How many of them will self-organize into groups to tackle a problem without formal leadership? These are the strengths of this generation. A good manager knows how to put the strengths of each member of his team to the right problem, in the right way, at the right t

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Vickor (867233)

        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 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.

    • 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 edcheevy (1160545)

        Exactly. I'm currently finishing the write-up for a study that shows a correlation between low conscientiousness + low agreeableness and high texting use at work. One of the key variables we controlled for is age. If you are less responsible, independent of age, you're more likely to act irresponsibly (should be obvious, right?). Irresponsible kids are more likely to do it through texting while irresponsible adults do it in other ways. Texting just happens to make the news because it's "novel".

        Disclaim

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      If you made her work late by 20 minutes, or dock her pay, I doubt she'd consider that "not a big deal". Try it :)

    • 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 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.

  • txtn tns hv btchrd t3h en lang!

    TISNF!!!

  • by trb (8509)
    The "dumbest" article is tallking about awareness of local cultural history. Antietam? Is that really intelligence? Does the average person outside the USA study particular battles in the American Civil War? If not, are they dumb?

    Last week, I was surprised to be playing Taboo [wikipedia.org] with well-educated 20-something American folks at a party, and I referred to "the Monitor and the Merrimac" in a clue, and drew a dozen blank stares.

    But then hang around with folks over 50 and try discussing life in the web wor

  • It's particularly telling that the subtitle contains misused words; to stupefy is to shock someone to the point that they are temporarily unable to speak. Only a web dictionary confused about the word "dumb" would lead to a mistake like that.

    Maybe the author should spend less time spinning suspicions into novels, without data. That they're apparently a journalist is somewhat concerning.

  • The Dumbest Book (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hardburn (141468) <hardburn AT wumpus-cave DOT 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.

  • I have few problems with texting. I think it is much more efficient than a phone call,which for all the benefits suffers from the lack of direct eye contact, which is often a significant part of verbal communication. Texting requires us to reflect on what we want to say, and then concisely phrase the thought.

    The problem is the ease and frequency of communication. At an average of 2000 messages a month,that is one every 15 minutes. Even if each takes only a minute to read and write,that is around 10% o

  • WTF?

    Cheers,
    Dave

  • 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
  • Teens are talking less? Why is this news? Is there a downside or something?

    "Parents are not interested in justice, they are interested in quiet." --- Bill Cosby

  • by AmigaHeretic (991368) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:10PM (#29332889) Journal
    When I was teenager my parents would constantly tell us not to talk on the phone so long.

    They always suggest we try "writing" to each other. Written communication is a "lost art" they would tell us.

    Now everyone is writing instead of talking... I guess my parents should be happy!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by smoker2 (750216)
      Texting is to writing as grunting is to speaking, as a mud hut is to the Taipei tower.
  • 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 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 Animats (122034) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @10:37PM (#29336355) Homepage

    I don't see this as a big problem. It's more of an opportunity.

    We need phones that can help prioritize text messages. Some few you need to read immediately, and in some cases you're involved in an active dialog. On the other hand, anything from Twitter probably doesn't require immediate attention. So your phone should have both distinctive ring and some way to set (preferably without looking) your current level of availability - (for example "available", "important stuff only", "emergencies only".) It would also be nice if places like theaters could send out a local signal that phones recognized as "set to emergencies only".

    To give "emergency" some teeth, charge a few dollars to send at "emergency" priority. Telcos would love this.

    So get busy, mobile app people.

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