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The Dangers of Text-Messaging: A Special Report

June 6, 2013

Text Messaging

A Special Report from the McCaskill County Register

All across the nation, a new fad has become increasingly popular. Once restricted to a chosen few, this fad has spread to millions of Americans and shows no signs of stopping. Young, old, rich poor, all are participating. Those who enjoy this phenomenon say that it improves their lives in ways they never thought possibly. Yet there are serious dangers that accompany this behavior. The phenomenon: Text Messaging.

Once, Text messaging was practically unheard of, restricted to a few individuals ahead of their time. But now it seems that everyone is spending their time reading texts. Already large corporations have begun using text messaging for marketing purposes and celebrities as diverse as Seth Rogen, Jenifer Aniston, and Ice Cube have publicly promoted text messaging. Yet in the rush to embrace this new technology, we have ignored some of the key dangers of text messaging.

The Dangers

The roads of McCaskill County were once safe places to drive. But recently, more and more drivers are starting to read text messages while driving, endangering both themselves and others.

“These kids are trying to multi-task on the road, and that is extremely dangerous,” says Sherriff James Kilpin. “They start with reading the text messages, and then they go from that to trying to reply to them. Just the other day, we pulled over a kid who was trying to write notes in the margin of Augustine’s Confessions while barreling down I-49.” Gilpin says that he is “confused” by this recent trend. “I never did this sort of thing as a kid.”

Text messaging has also been linked to violence in several shocking incidents. In once case, a student at William Jefferson Clinton High School reportedly recited the so-called “St. Crispin’s Day Speech” from the Shakespeare text Henry V [Editor’s Note: A shockingly violent and jingoistic piece of ultraconservative propaganda.] punching fellow student Sid Ethel in the nose. This violence is not restricted to the youth, but has spread throughout culture. Daniel Brighton, 28 and Luke Simmons, 32, were involved in a violent altercation inside a Barnes and Noble (one of the many new stores catering towards texters). The two men began by shouting and waving copies of Plato’s Republic and Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The conflict quickly escalated to blows, and the ensuing brawl resulted in the two combatants injuring each other and knocking down a display advertising Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica. [Editor’s Note: An arcane work of theology primarily studied by religious fanatics.] Police were baffled at the altercation, and are still puzzling over Brighton’s parting words of “If I ruled this city, your kind would be banished for corrupting the youth.”

The Children

The phenomenon of text messaging has invaded the school room. Instead of studying math, science, and contraception, millions of children are reading text messages in the classroom.

Alex Childress, 15, says that he began reading text messages in 8th grade. “The first text I ever read was The Hobbit,” he says. “After that, I went on to Lord of the Rings.”It is clear that Alex’s early addiction has negatively influenced his social life. “Now when I hear the other kids talking about their drama and stuff. I’m just so bored. I would rather go read.”

Jaden Levi, 17, admits a similar addiction to text messaging. “After I began reading texts,” he said, “I lost interest in sociology class. Miss Scrimshaw’s lectures on systemic racism inherent in the institutional hegemony of the military-industrial complex of postcolonial imperialism viewed through the eyes of wandering bands of Lesbian basket-weavers from Paraguay just wasn’t as interesting as Sherlock Holmes.” Across the nations, millions of teachers are witnessing the same thing—students who read text messages are less attentive to teachers, more likely to cause trouble in class, and less attune to social situations.

The Home

Most nights, after a wholesome microwaveable dinner, the Johnson family used to sit together and watch TV. But now, their living room is typically empty. The TV is switched off. The children? Off in their room, reading texts.

“I don’t get it,” says the dad, Mike Johnson. “When I was their age, I didn’t read text messages. I played video games.” Mike sits alone in the dining room, with only his dog Gerta and his son Tim, who is curled up on a recliner with a copy of Treasure Island.

“Even my own son won’t pay attention to me when he’s reading one of those things. And my oldest daughter renamed the dog after some German poet guy who couldn’t even spell his own name correctly.”

Mike says the trouble began when his oldest daughter Sophia brought home a copy of Pride and Prejudice. [Editor’s note: A manual for gender inequality.] “She started reading that thing and stopped watching Seinfeld.” says Mike. Soon, his other daughters and his son began to spend more time reading texts than watching TV. “They would come home bringing back these texts like Little Women, Little House on the Praire, and Last of the Mohicans. It was like they were all about failure” Mike recollected, adding that he didn’t understand why they wanted to spend so much time looking at something that didn’t move.

Finally, even Mike’s wife broke down and began reading texts. “I remember the day I walked into her office and saw her reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It was then I realized that I just can’t keep up with all this new technology. There’s no point in trying to stop it.”

The rest of the family was unable to comment, as they were busy reading.

Communities and Text Messaging

Across the nation, many communities are being negatively impacted by the rise of text messaging. Many groups have formed around different text messages. One major group is the “Janeites,” a group centered around the writings of Jane Austen. [Editor’s note: A noted advocate of bourgeois repression.] On the surface, the “Janeites,” seem like normal members of an innocuous social club.. But the Janeites have been frequently involved in disruptive activity. In our own McCaskill County, there was a violent fight at North Centrall Mall between the Janeites and the “Twainites,” followers of Mark Twain. [Ed. Note: A Southern Racist who churned out screeds designed to confirm the institutional hegemony of his time.] “Janeite/Twainite” clashes have become a common occurrence in several cities, and many schools have banned T-shirts that read “Keep Austen Weird.” Other similarly problematic groups can be found, such as the Faulknerites, the Tolkienites, the W.H. Auden Mafia, and several ultraconservative groups who strictly follow the teachings of different Ancient Middle-Eastern Texts.

One place where text-messaging is not such a new development is among the bohemian artistic community. “We were reading texts way before it was cool.” says Hayden Taylor of Brooklyn, New York. Taylor, who prefers to go by his stage name of “Pookie,” is part of the avante-garde community of “readers.” These readers have their own special vocabulary, referring to texts as “books” and using other slang expressions such as “poetry,” “classic,” and “imagination.” “The first book I ever read was George Orwell’s Animal Farm.” says Taylor, “It was clutch.”

The Solutions

Despite the growing popularity of text-messaging, many experts are worried about the negative effects of texts.

“Text messages isolate children from reality,” says Dr. Darrah Dah, professor of Media Research and Semantics at the Hillary Clinton School of Journalism. “Children and even adults become detached from reality when they read. They are no longer able to react to social situations as well and they start to confuse reality with fiction.” Professor Dah also points out that many outdated and repressive ideas—good always defeats evil in the end, love conquers all, hard work and persistence pay off—are communicated and enforced through texts. “Kids start thinking in these binaries and structures and black-and white that we don’t want them to think in. We need to free their minds to self-expression. Instead of reading a book, they need to do something like making an Indian dream catcher.”

Freddy Finklestein, MD, of the Kinsey Foundation, agrees that texts are harmful to most people. “When someone reads a text, they are not as stimulated as when they watch a screen. Their body and mind start to slow down, until they reach a state that they call ‘contemplation,’ very similar to a marijuana high. This slowing-down can lead to disastrous consequences later in life, such as depression, obesity, and membership in the Republican Party.” Dr. Finklestein recommends getting children off of texts gradually. “Start by getting them to read comics or magazines and gradually get them back to TV and video games.”

There are also concerns about the moral content of texts. “These texts are a threat to our children’s moral health!” says Cindy Morganstern of Concerned Mothers of America. “I used to think that text messaged were OK, but after I read some of them, I realized that I wouldn’t want my children to read them.” She points out that many texts promote violence (The Illiad, Beowulf), mayhem (A Clockwork Orange) rebellion against society (Brave New World, The Fountainhead,) vigilantism (The Unvanquished, True Grit), burglary (The Hobbit) smoking (The Lord of the Rings), alchohol abuse (The Collected Works of Ernest Hemingway), witchcraft (The Chronicles of Narnia), depression (The Brother’s Karamozov), suicide (Hamlet), and illicit sexual experience (The Song of Solomon).

Even our statesmen on both sides of the aisle are coming out against text messages. John “Bubba” Siles (R., Georgia) says “I don’t want my children to grow up in a world where people read texts. That’s not my America! Look at the people who wrote texts. Hitler wrote one, and so did Karl Marx. It’s proof we’re on the road to socialism.” Meanwhile, Senator Stanton Hefner (D., California) says that texts should be “Safe, legal, and rare.”

Education experts are still debating how to address the issue of texts. While some favor banning all texts from schools, Education Expert Wanda Wurthrgrung-Smith says that some texts should be allowed for their “educational value,” such as The Handmaid’s Tale, I, Rigoberta Menchu, and If I Did It by O.J. Simpson.

A few radical teachers have even incorporated texts into their curriculum. “I believe in using texts in my classes.” says local high school teacher Jason Patrick Charles, “They’re exciting, relevant and the kids love it.” Students often describe the class as “innovative,” “groundbreaking” and “like, the sickest class ever.” Critics of Charles’, however, point out that the money spent on texts is a drain on the high school’s sex-education program, and that Charles did his undergraduate work at Bleaton College, an institution known for its reactionary views.

What to do if you think your kids are reading texts

  • Confront them gently. Yelling and getting angry will only make them more angry and less willing to give up reading texts.

  • Calmly tell them about the dangers of reading texts, be careful not to condemn them, but to show them that they need to engage in more emotionally helpful activities.

  • Try to help them find another outlet for their energy, such as TV, video games, or wandering aimlessly through the mall.

  • If trouble persists, consider taking them to a psychologist or school counselor.

How to keep your children from reading texts

  • Regularly comb the house to make sure your children haven’t hidden texts somewhere.

  • Make sure your children are hanging out in supervised places with an approved peer group.

  • Consistently watch TV and play video games together as a family. The family that plays together, stays together.

  • Make sure your home has a high-speed internet connection and that every family member has a Facebook Page.

  • Keep plenty of celebrity gossip magazines lying around in the house.

  • Use the word “boring” as often as you can to describe anything, anywhere, at any time.

The Warning Signs—How to know if your children are reading texts

  • They spend long hours of time alone.

  • They complain that they are sore, or their eyes hurt.

  • They no longer seem interested in ordinary activities like television or video games

  • They spend significantly less time on Facebook or cancel their Facebook account entirely.

  • They get a new group of friends who they describe as “less shallow” and “more deep” than their old friends.

  • Their grades suddenly improve.

  • They argue with you more frequently, and with greater rates of success.

  • They present ideas to you that seem unusual, strange, or overly complicated.

 

Current Listenings: 18 Singles by U2. I had forgotten what a great band U2 is.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 18, 2013 9:25 pm

    Nick House, You are amazing. This made my day haha.

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