The last couple of years texting has grown exponentially in popularity. Especially among teenagers. Teenagers would rather send text messages back and forth instead of talk on the phone - maybe even instead of talking in person. The explanation I get from other parents of teenagers is that texting gives the teen an opportunity to be more candid and more at ease since the person he/she is talking to is not actually physically present. The teen can now "talk" to the other person in a more open way.
I never thought much about this whole texting business until recently my wife and I discovered that our 13-year-old son had a girlfriend. Fine. That he sees her maybe once a week because they go to separate schools. Fine. And that their only means of communication is to text each other (throughout the day and evening) because she says she can't understand him on the telephone. Um...not so fine. They have broken up with each other at least twice (and gotten back together), had numerous arguments (and resolved them), and had deep meaningful conversations...all without actually speaking to each other.
Don't get me wrong. No, I do not want them meeting behind the gym and "doing what teenagers do there." That's not the point. The point is that part of being a teenager, or a human being for that matter, is learning to interact with your peers, and that includes the opposite sex. It is preparation for life. How would these two act if they actually spent any meaningful amount of time together in the same room? Would they retreat to opposite corners and start texting?
So much of today's society is about preserving our individual privacy. I think that's great. I think texting is great. I love being able to send my wife a quick message if need be instead of calling her on the phone. But when texting takes the place of human interaction? That is a dangerous road.
Teenagers are the most prodigious users of text messages. Here's an article on the subject.