The Paw Print

Giving my thumbs a break

Maggie McHale, Staff Reporter

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According to the Pew Research Center, 81% of Americans text regularly. By this statistic, the majority of the United States is using texting as a primary means of communication.

By going through my phone, I found that on average I text 5-13 people daily and send somewhere between 200-400 texts daily. These averages do not describe days where I have free time, but a daily busy schedule with high school, swim team, and college classes.

The mass amount of texts sent by me reflects similarly on the teenagers of the United States. Nielsen reports that the average teenager sends 3,339 texts per month, which comes out to be about 110 texts per day. Female teenagers have an upwards average of 4050 texts per month, while male teenagers face a 2539 text per month average.

The massive impact of texting on teenagers in the United States today allowed for a natural flow of ideas for an immersive project that affects both me and West students. I was able to pick apart the unhealthy habits of the average American teenager, and try to eliminate those habits for two days.

These two days were a Saturday and Sunday with time to relax, and I usually text my friends frequently on days like this.  This would make this experiment more difficult than a regular busy school day.

The most prevalent worry behind the immersive experiment was how others would react. Some may think I am not okay, while others may think I have no interest in talking to them any more.

Despite these worries I could not reveal to those I text daily that I would be shifting my scope and using other means of communication. This included Snapchat’s snaps, but pictures with no words to others was allowed as part of my two days.

Initially, I woke up, grabbed my phone to say a simple good morning to the people that usually find themselves with a buzzing phone reading “Maggie” every so often (pretty often). Some people asked what was going on immediately, so I took my time to avoid it and move to playing Domino Drop on my phone.

The stress of getting texts and not being able to respond was real. Calling the contacts was fairly undesirable, but several short FaceTimes occurred throughout the day to reply to what had been said over text.

Spending time away from texting was a good time to get things done. Doing homework was easier with less distractions, spending time with my brother and friends came as an easy, welcome activity for the two days.

Taking a break from texting altogether for a short period of time allowed for my status quo to be challenged and drastically changed but allowed me to return after two days to what I had been used to.

It was a reflective experience to unusually change my schedule and challenge what the norm of American teenagers continues to be throughout daily lives, especially here at Normal West.

Try taking a breath and stepping away from your phone. Or maybe even calling someone to hear a voice tell you the message that could be delivered in a grey bubble on the screen on your phone. Change your communicative ways for a day, and see how it goes.

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Giving my thumbs a break