We’re texting more than older generations, but this doesn’t mean we communicate less.
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Young people love texting, sometimes preferring to do so over communicating face-to-face. There’s no need to sound the alarm yet, however; millennials aren’t quite killing the talking industry. We’re talking to each other just as much as previous generations, if not more. It’s just the way that we do it that’s changed.

Generational gap or harbinger of end times?

Young Americans text a lot. In fact, 68 percent of millennial Americans would describe their habits as such. Compare that to the 47 percent aged 30 to 49 who prefer frequent text communications and the only 26 percent of those aged 50 to 64 who would say the same. This data shows that we’re dealing with a clearly defined generational gap in regards to communication preferences. However, despite the warnings of our elders, we’ll probably be just fine.

The thing to remember is that texting isn’t necessarily a lesser form of communication, but that as a medium it comes with distinct pros and cons. Some millennials believe that making a phone call feels too intrusive, especially in a work environment. They may think that calling someone “without e-mailing first can make it seem as though you’re prioritizing your needs over theirs.” Texting also brings a novel way to approach relationships. Frequent text communication can help nervous people stay calm, ease the pain of rejection and keep couples in constant contact.

The limitations of words alone

Texting is informal. It gives you time to think up a response, and it allows you to delay your response if you’re busy. Managing a deluge of texts from different senders is a true exercise in time management and prioritization. Still, when dealing with words detached from body language and tone of voice, how much meaning truly carries over?

Critics of texting culture remain skeptical, claiming that the condensed nature of texts often fails to get the intended meaning across. While texting allows us to have difficult personal conversations in an easier and less confrontational way, this can become a social crutch that leaves a negative impact on a person’s communication skills. You’ve been ghosted before, right?

Frequent texting also carries physical risks. Doctors are beginning to suspect that we could soon see an increase in tendinitis, arthritis, and repetitive strain injuries among smartphone users. They’re already fielding complaints of wrist and hand pain directly linked to texting.

Takeaway – Should we be worried about this much texting?

Despite the naysayers and the possible risks, texting is a new technology that is here to stay. Among millennials, choosing texting over other forms of communication is often an unconscious choice. At this point, it’s simply what we do. Instant, easy and unobtrusive, someone who receives a text isn’t obligated to respond immediately. And with the fast pace of the modern world and the overstimulation endemic to it, it’s nice to have something that feels so personal and impersonal at the same time — and to communicate so frequently with friends.

Chalk it up to the fact that younger people are more willing to adapt to the times and take advantage of new technology. Millennials are beginning to take over, and if the world hasn’t fallen into chaos yet, it likely won’t. Not even if we’re sending thousands of texts a month.

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Header image: Adobe Stock

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Posted 10.31.2017 - 11:00 am EST