How texting is affecting your relationships?

Home S&S Features How texting is affecting your relationships?

It is not surprising to witness people on their phone while they are walking, eating and even driving. According to CITA – The Wireless Association, there were around 6 billion text messages sent per day in the US alone throughout 2013, the equivalent of 69,635 text messages every second.

Time, in cooperation with Qualcomm, the largest provider of wireless and software technology, launched the Time Mobility Poll, a survey of close to 5,000 people of all age groups and income levels in eight countries: U.S., the U.K., China, India, South Korea, South Africa, Indonesia and Brazil. In Time’s poll, 1 in 4 people check texts every 30 minutes, and people check 1 in 5 every 10 minutes. A third of respondents admitted that being without their mobile for even short periods of time leaves them feeling anxious. (http://techland.time.com/2012/08/16/your-life-is-fully-mobile/). The problem, of course, is what people lose when they only text: the experiences of face-to-face communications.

Researchers Lori Chade and Jonathan Sandberg from Brigham Young University studied 276 young adults between the age of 18 and 25: 38 percent said they were in a relationship, 46 percent were engaged and 16 percent were married. Each participant completed extensive research assessment that included questions about the role of technology in their relationship. Chade and Sandberg found that using text messages as a way to apologize, or make important decisions, contributed to lower quality relationship for both women and men; the more that couples text, the more they will fight and the more they will distrust each other. Although expressing affection through texting actually increases the bond between the couples, the opposite can happen when couples use texting to solve problems or settle disagreements. Sandberg said, “There is a narrowness with texting and you don’t get to see the breadth of a person that you need to see.”Also, men especially felt less satisfaction in their relationship when they texted frequently. (http://news.byu.edu/archive13-oct-texting.aspx)

One of the reasons for frequent use of texting is that it is less painful than face-to-face conversation. Nicole Kim (Sr.) said, “I would prefer texting when I have to say something that will make the person angry or sad because I do not have to watch their reactions.” Bethany Huang (Fr.) also said, “Texting is more convenient; sometimes people do not pick up their phones, but for texting I can just type and leave a message, and wait for a reply.” Texting clearly causes less conversation among people. Who would want to talk or call when they can simply leave a message?

However, that pain of having face-to-face conversation is the point. Through face-to-face conversation, people learn how to interpret others’ facial expressions, which will eventually lead to healthier relationships. At work, people will know how to carry out the conversation comfortably with their new clients by comprehending their reactions. When people are on a date, they will easily impress their date by quickly catching what he or she wants through facial expressions. Better and comfortable face-to-face conversation can be achieved only with the pain: going through the complexity of conversations and watching how people react

 

By Lynn Chae
Staff Writer

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