I’m trying not to be judgmental, but I am concerned about our obsessive texting, excessive phone and social media usage. Perhaps if I were a more proficient texter (still at the one-finger-thinking-too-much-no-abbreviations-shortcuts-stage) I would enjoy it more.  Further, if I had lots to talk about all day, I probably wouldn’t try to control what other folks do with their devices, but hear me out:

Almost every meal I’ve eaten in a restaurant over the past six months offers these scenarios: mom with child, devices, no conversation between them; couple with two or more children, devices, no conversation; and two adults with devices and no conversation.

I figure if tragedy struck, we’d regret all the things we didn’t say when we had the chance. When our children were growing up, we didn’t allow television or phones during meals. Yes, both were attached to the wall and nobody hauled them from room to room, and the world didn’t come to an end.

Sometimes we would share stories or poetry, history—what happened during the day—whatever came up, and we loved hearing the voices around us. Now during meals my newly teen/pre-teen granddaughters have to be reminded to put the phones away so we can visit with them.

A recent article[i] about texting and relationships said text communication can cause anxiety, miscommunication, and is  often made more difficult if the sender and receiver are not textually compatible—one person sends texts and expects instant reply while the other answers on a “whenever I get around to it” basis. In addition to texting styles, you must interpret body language and inflection from afar. Texting can also be used to keep in touch or avoid interaction.

Considering the importance of communication in relationships, you don’t have to be a brainiac to know that “…texting also allows people to escape their present situation. People text because they are bored or because they think it is a better way to express themselves, … but, there is a risk that texting could become a crutch, too. When this happens it becomes a barrier to creating meaningful relationships with other people. Additionally, texting all the time can come from a place of loneliness, which only exacerbates the issue by further alienating and isolating the texter.”

The conversation continues on whether they should allow cellphone use on planes and I pray they will not. For some reason loud people always take my flight or shop at my favorite stores and they inevitably decide they need to solve all the world’s problems while they’re shopping 10 aisles from me. I don’t want to hear their entire conversations but because they are so loud, I have no choice.

Every person who buys a cellphone ought to be required to take etiquette classes and they would include rules like (A) unless you’re talking to your doctor, we don’t really want or need to know about your bodily functions. (B) It seems rude to stay on your phone while you’re having a face to face conversation. (C) When you’re waiting for a call and it comes, leave quickly without answering and talking all the way outside to take it.

Finally, just because it happened doesn’t mean you have to tell it to millions in living color. The stuff we put on social media will be on a computer somewhere when Jesus returns. Nowadays employers go to social media first so the profanity and potentially libelous stuff you’re thinking about posting, please think again.

Since we’ll be online and on the phone more in the next few days, share your most important cellphone/social media/texting tip at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook. Happy holidays!

[i] Understanding the Dynamics of Texting in Relationships

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.

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