“That Story Lady”

Angela Scott, Author – Storyteller – Ventriloquist

How I Recognized the Addiction of Text Messaging Syndrome

June 10, 2007

Text messaging syndrome is time consuming and encourages preoccupied conversations which, of course, affects everyone. Emily and David are great friends. As a matter of fact, I’m certain they love each other. However, I have noticed they both experience a common addiction with cell phones.

Numerous teenagers and adults apparently anticipate internal questions such as, “Who has written to me now?” and “How many messages have I received?” Great questions, of course, although I believe it is also beneficial to anticipate everyday moments we often miss. Think about the real beauty of a sunrise, a shower of rain, the fragrance of a flower, a family story passed down to us over time, or perhaps an uninterrupted conversation with your mom.

After an hour’s drive to the airport for my daughter’s return from her spring break to college, I realized the severity of this addiction which I was able to recognize as text messaging syndrome.

She rarely glanced away from her cell phone as she rapidly wrote one message after another. I could not hold my curiosity any longer when I asked, “Do you text message when you’re driving?” Her response, “Yes, but I just use one hand.”

My next question bolted out of my mouth, “Are you able to study, without sending text messages?” “Oh, mom…”

In the event you encounter a teenager or adult with this addiction, I believe it is only fair to share with you the progression of this addiction especially under the best of circumstances.

Evidence of the mild stage of text messaging syndrome is, “It’s only 10 cents a message.” Although addicting, it sounds harmless with a minimal expense.

Although 300 text messages per month sounds like a lot, her expense was an extra $5.00 per month. Thus, an increasing expense develops into the moderate addiction stage.

Unlimited text messages for $20.00 per month. This option removes the fear of exceeding any limit of text messages, however, this is the severe stage when you realize how much teenagers and adults depend on text messaging.

G. K. Chesterton said, “There is one thing which gives radiance to everything. It is the idea of something around the corner.” Hope for the future is important, however, I am not certain Chesterton was referring to anticipation of the next incoming text message which would, of course, need a response.

I’m older so I don’t text message. Perhaps I felt like an outsider. However, I realized the deterioration of verbal communication skills. Her voice startled me, “Mom, I’m listening” she announced as she began the next text message.

Finally, I had to ask her this question, “Will you regret in one month, six months, or a year from now an ordinary moment when you realize you decided to spend time focusing on the next incoming or outgoing text message rather than spend time with your family and loved ones?” Our conversation began again, although we had arrived at the airport.

Everyday moments are often taken for granted. These seemingly insignificant messages distract our attention from the present; moments that only occur once.

All writings here are copyrighted by Angela Scott. You may not use them without written permission but you may link to the posts or give out a link to the posts.

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