Community - March 3, 2010

My View: Our so-called lives -- Is techno-chatter replacing relationships?

About the author: Samantha Bergeson of Portola Valley is a freshman at Menlo School in Atherton.

By Samantha Bergeson

It is said that life is what happens when we are too busy texting friends, e-mailing clients, and arranging birthday parties — or something of the sort.

High school itself seems to be lost in such a country.

Data from Nielsen Co. surveys shows that the average teenager types more than 80 text messages a day. How many moments are we missing of living?

In this technological age, life is not fully being experienced, and is instead replaced with abbreviations of emotions, a "LOL" instead of hearing someone laugh. Classmates now meet first on Facebook, the magic of introductions lost. Our lives are being consumed by the loss of instant moments, of true personal connections and simple communication.

Such a lack of contact between people is diminishing relationships, particularly among the young. Many of today's youth do not recall a time without a small, handheld cell phone.

According to the New York Times, texting, Twittering, and other "social media" threaten to affect how youth comprehend academic material. Research has shown that a student's relationships affect academic and social performance. A classroom filled with students sneaking text and Facebook checks may seriously detract from an individual's success in education.

Words themselves have become melded into easier, quicker ways to communicate. Texts barely contain vowels, with strings of sentences overlapping to make an obscure form of sense.

How can such simple letters replace a hug to a friend in need? Perhaps some view these new forms of technology as safer, more distanced. To some, it is easier to write than talk, hiding behind computers to find the comfort they need.

Yet emotions can get lost in translation, a typed smiley face viewed not as a welcoming, friendly approach but instead shown as sarcastic and mocking.

A romantic white orchid is now replaced with an "i luv u" text message, a birthday card with an e-mail from a singing pet.

No, these are not the courting days of Jane Austen's Darcy, nor even of Bridget Jones. Today, we show feelings, whether angry or kind, loving or worried, through abbreviated texts and instant messages.

How long will this anti-relationship frenzy last among high school students? If this isolation continues, how will our society change? What will the new definition of living be?


Posted by Judith Rigas, a resident of another community
on Mar 12, 2010 at 5:55 pm

A well thought out and insightful article from a young teenager.
Will look for more articles from her.

Posted by Marice George, a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2010 at 9:26 am

Great article. I hear it is all true, but I have no grandchildre to witness the phenomena.

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