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The Milton Measure

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by The Milton Measure on Friday, November 6th, 2015

Adults often complain that teenagers spend too much time on their phones. Every time I so much as swipe right on the lockscreen, it seems like I get another lecture on how smartphones are ‘crippling this generation’ and ‘ruining genuine human interaction.’ These lectures are easy to write off as the mutterings of the technologically-challenged (aka: the middle-aged); however, there are some valid arguments for why incessant phone use, specifically texting, is actually doing a lot of harm.

New York Times writer Katie Hafner reports that “[texting] is leading to anxiety, distraction in school, falling grades, repetitive stress injury and sleep deprivation.” According to, detrimental physical effects to kids’ eyes, backs and necks are also becoming more prevalent as teens spend increasing amounts of time bent over screens.

Milton’s own TextLess Live More foundation has expressed concern about some of these issues. The foundation encourages students to stay off their phones and live more in the present. Catie Wise (‘17), a TextLess board member says, “A lot of kids our age are reliant on [their] phones for social interactions, which lessens [their] social skills.” On each TextLess day, the first Monday of every month, the TextLess board asks the community to turn off all phones during the school day. On these days, Wise has observed “kids sitting without their phones and kind of not knowing what to do.”

Personally, I agree that constant texting can be harmful on a number of levels. That being said, texting can also provide a number of benefits. Rather than causing teens to become anti-social, phones allow kids to socialize more than ever before. Through texting, I’ve been able to keep in touch with people whom I haven’t seen in person for over five years. I can plan outings months in advance with friends from other countries. I can ask peers for help on my homework even if I’m in the library, and all my classmates have already gone home.

Texting is also redefining ‘meaningful relationships’. Where, before, couples might break up due to lack of communication, texting now allows near-constant connection. Changing schools or moving towns does not have to mean the end of old friendships or relationships. Texting allows communication between two people who aren’t together physically. Phones are tools that help create and maintain our connections with the people we can’t see everyday. It’s great to connect with friends who are far away. The only caveat is that we must not forget to interact with those who are around us!

Texting is easy and fast and lets us keep in touch with more than just a handful of people. In the hour that you might take to call your mom to catch up, you can text ten friends, your whole family, and your significant other. Texting may not be strengthening relationships, but we must remember that it helps maintain old connections and creates new ones.

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Posted by The Milton Measure on Nov 6 2015. Filed under More Opinion, Opinion, Recent Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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