By now you know the explosion of the phenomenon known as “texting”. Consider some of these statistics.
- 72.2% of wireless users have paid for SMS packages. This equates to 203 million Americans.
- 57% of wireless users 13+ are considered regular text message users.
- There has been a 107% increase in text message use in the USA in the past year.
- 2.5 billion text messages are sent each day in the USA.
- More text messages are sent per phone than phone calls. The average text messages used per month is 357 compared to 204 cell phone calls.
- 15 million Americans used video on their cell phones in quarter two, 2008.
- 138 million Americans have sent a text message in the past three months.
Shocking? I don’t think so. There is another article I came across (click here to read it) that claimed texting is the new drunk-driving because it causes so many people get into an accident while texting. Odds are, you either text, have a teenager that texts, or have some sort of influence on someone who texts. One person in my youth group told me that in one month he had sent over 20,000 text messages!!! We had a Christmas party with the youth group this past Friday at my house and while we were playing dirty Santa 3 or 4 of them were sitting there with their phones open texting one or two of their friends! I thought to myself, “My how the times have changed for if I were to do that when I was a teenager mom and dad would honestly have killed me” (I am struggling to see if I am exaggerating or not). I have been in conversations with teenagers and mid-conversation I hear the vibrations of the their phone and almost immediately they grab their phone and check the text message. I am a youth minister and so on occasion (to test them) I have sent text messages to students and sure enough, like clock-work, in the middle of a sermon I see the shift of the body to one butt-cheek so they can (in stealth-mode apparently) check to see who just “texted” (is that even a verb?) them. When they figure out it is the youth minister they call me a hypocrite because I just texted them. I guess God is a hypocrite to allow Satan to test Job right?
I was in a graduate class this semester and one of my professors stopped, mid-lecture, to look at a text message and then moved on. Classmates text people (I have done it myself) while their professor is lecturing (don’t get me started on all of the students who surf the internet on their computers which are supposedly used to take notes). I was walking today from Lipscomb’s student center to the Library and out of the 8 people I saw, 6 of them were texting! My wife and I and another couple went to a movie a couple of weeks ago and during the movie we saw a number of people flip their phones up and text. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! This brings me to the point…I would like to offer some texting rules since we cannot avoid the concept of texting then we should offer some guidelines.
- Rule #1 – Never, never, never text when you are in a vehicle. I have done this and nearly killed myself. It is hard to pay attention when talking and looking at the road but texting and not looking at the road? Come on…be realistic.
- Rule #2 – Never, never, never text while having a conversation with someone. It is rude! What if I were talking to you in a conversation and then all of the sudden started talking to someone else in the room while you were still talking to me? It would be rude right? But you are doing the same thing on a phone!!! EVER LEARN ABOUT NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION? What messages are you sending someone when you text while they are talking to you? “I don’t think you are that important because this text message is more important to grab my attention!”
- Rule #3 – Never, never, never text during class or worship! See rule #2! What are you saying to God? Enough said!
- Rule #4 – Never, never, never text on a date! I was eating dinner one time and looked at a teenage couple sitting at a table in front of me. They were not talking to each other but both were texting someone else. Want to find a quick way to end a relationship? Start texting someone else while they are pouring their heart out to you.
- Rule #5 – Ask yourself, “Why am I texting?” Some people text only because they cannot stand to be quiet, alone and separated from communication. “I have to talk to someone!” When we went to Mexico and one of our teenagers (who is a text addict) could not text in Mexico it killed him. As soon as we crossed the border (he had his phone out waiting) he started texting! So why do you text?
- Rule #6 – It is never that important to answer a text! NEVER! If someone is dying then they will call you. If someone is in imminent danger they will call you. But a text is never that important. Never, ever, ever!
So there you have it…my rules for texting. Next time you text while I am talking to you I will take your phone and throw it and say, “Now can I talk to you?” People…have some decency!