In today’s technological era, people are more connected than ever before. Texting has become a norm in the realm of multitasking.
According to a study of over 150 college-aged students, more than 100 text messages are sent and received each day per person. The study, from Penn State Harrisburg, found that these students are sending some of the dialogue from inappropriate places, such as in class, during a movie in the theater, in the shower or at a religious service.
Mary Skillan, director of campus ministry at the Newman Center, the religious center for Plattsburgh State, Clinton Community College and the surrounding area, said approximately 40 to 50 percent of its mass-goers are students. She has never witnessed any texters at masses she has attended. However, she said it is a distraction from the reason they are attending mass in the first place.
“If I saw someone texting during mass, it would bother me, because I feel it is disrespectful,” Skillan said. “It is taking away from their being able to fully experience the mass.”
Of the 150 students in the study, more than one-fifth said they had texted during a religious service, and 10 percent said they have sent a message during a funeral.
On the other end, 90 percent of the students said they text while they eat, and over 80 percent said they text in the bathroom.
PSUC junior Allyson St. John said she is against texting during meals.
“I think it’s weird,” St. John said. “I wouldn’t text if we were eating or if I was eating with my family. It’s awkward.”
PSUC freshman William Hodge also said the dinner table is not a place to be texting. He said he thinks people should be involved in the conversation going on around them.
He also admitted to using his phone in the bathroom.
“I’m always moving. No matter what I’m doing I should be doing multiple things at one time,” Hodge said. “I’m not texting in class or when I’m walking, so when I’m sitting I might as well be texting.”
Rachael Greminger, a PSUC freshman, said it is “not fun” to see everyone in the room on their phones and it seems as though everyone is in “another world.” She also said she is the person in her house to tell everyone to talk to each other and asks how everyone in the room is doing. She admits that time at home is different from being at school where it is “less formal.”
“It’s kind of sad because it’s inevitable. It’s only going to get worse because we are becoming more dependent on technology,” Greminger said. “When we have this little square in our pocket obviously we are going to look at it.”
CBS News reported that Marissa Harrison, lead author of the of the study, said the reason young people send text messages in places that they realize are inappropriate for that behavior is because it is “just like other compulsions and impulses.”
“There is something rewarding about sending and receiving a text message,” Harrison said in the article. “My guess is that is the immediacy of communication.”
Skillan said cell phones distract people from the here and now, and that she believes they should be spending time talking to each other and enjoying that time together.
“I don’t need my phone all the time,” Hodge said. “You can have fun without technology.”
Email Lisa Scivolette at firstname.lastname@example.org