marc julagay

One families attempt to keep up with themselves


Life’s meditations

Is Texting Good for Teenagers?

Rounding up the bits and pieces  regarding texting… Maybe there should be a book written about this? Hmn?

Nielsen reported in June that in the first quarter of ’09, teens on average send/receive 2,900 texts a month, up from 2,272 in the fourth quarter of ’08. That’s a 28% increase in texting in just 3 months.

I’ve seen articles that have warned that the advent of texting, with it’s abbreviations (OMG) and word substitutions (gr8), is the harbinger of the end of the English language as we’ve known it.

Now, some educators are saying that texting can be good for teens in terms of language development. Initial research indicated that when it comes to informal essays, kids who use some text-speak outperform kids who don’t. When it comes to formal essays, (perhaps obviously) texting can hurt performance.

I’m thinking the jury is still out on whether texting will end up being good or bad for teens, and that we won’t know the ultimate answer for a very long time.

My question is, does it really matter one way or the other?

Language changes. We don’t speak the King’s English anymore, although there are some who still cling to the King James Bible. I’ve heard my share of KJV-laced prayers in church (“We beseech thee, oh Lord”) but not nearly as much these days.

There will be plenty of English purists who stand watch and will be sure to warn along the way. Even so, will it matter?

I’m confident kids will still be learning proper English in schools for the immediate future.

I won’t be surprised, however, if things change over time. Look at how learning the skill of handwriting has disappeared in school curriculum over the years.

Today’s teenagers are going to text. Texting won’t be going away anytime soon. There might be something else beyond texting as technologies continue to develop, but for now texting is a primary mode of communication.

Back when my generation was moving through adolescence, I don’t remember that writing notes to friends (other than when we were in a class) was popular. We primarily communicated in person or by phone. Were the adults of that time concerned because we had lost the art of note or letter writing? Perhaps there were some. Were adults concerned about our casual verbal communication when they overheard our conversations? Has it made a difference in our lives today? Were we negatively impacted by the lack of writing as a form of communication to our peers? Can anyone now provide a qualitative answer? Does anyone care?

So now, kids are writing to communicate with their peers and adults at an impressively increasing rate. For language purists, it might be not be writing in the mode they would desire, but does it matter?

When teens text they have to think about language. They have to express their thoughts. That cannot be all bad.

If today’s teens are still texting well into their adult years, the English language might just look different than it does today. But, at least they’ll know the language and I’m thinking that they’ll be able to communicate successfully.

However, learning to express ones self is a different issue entirely! That’s where the true breakdown is. You can’t get a read on whether or not someone truly understands what you’re saying on the other side of a text. When you are talking directly with someone, you know right away whether or not you’re communicating.


A Church Who Gets It!

4 Things That Mattered To Our Parents

Innovation has always and is currently moving at a breakneck speed. There is of course, those things that continue to be true and great that remain and weather the gail force winds of change. There is a reason these things remain. And there is a reason that many former “innovations” fall by the wayside. They need to. It’s time. They are not bad, they just aren’t as good anymore.

And yet there are those who are not willing to let go of the past. They are deeply rooted in the meaning that these things once held. They are stuck in the systems that these former “innovations” have created, unable to embrace what is now. Here are FOUR examples (of many) from our Culutre and ONE Question that each of us must wrestle with.

The Encyclopedia.
A brilliant breakthrough of the Modern Era. Knowledge for the masses! Everyone can own…26 Giant Books with Tiny Print. We had a set in our house growing up – grossly outdated and too expensive and complicated to update, they became fantastic door stoppers and forts for my G.I. Joes.

The Phonebook.
Eclipsing the wisdom of a centralized Operator, now anyone could find a litany of phone numbers for 24 hour plumbers. They represent a centralized collection of localized limitedness that had to be updated every year with a new 18 pound 1384 page waste of paper. Not sustainable.

The Home Phone.
The Cordless Phone simply was not enough to save the icon of a bygone era of simplicity and boundaries. ”Call me sometime…when I’m home…not on another call…and am willing to stand still long enough for our conversation.”

The Newspaper.
An inky papery connection to the world around you…that the editors saw fit to represent. The world continues to move too fast, too far, and too wide for this iconic connection to the Greatest Generation. While the Newspaper may not die, it most certainly will not thrive in it’s current atomic state.

Right or Wrong. Good or Bad. These are FOUR things that matter(ed) to our parents. But they simply DON’T to us anymore. They have been replaced by innovation that itself will be replaced in a matter of time.


What are we still holding on to because of it’s unorthodox and uncritical “history” and meaning to us? What is it that we are still doing because we are too entrenched in the systems we’ve created around it? AND…WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

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