Texting is incredibly important to teenagers these days. When I was a teenager cell phones were just coming out. Texting did not even exist yet today kids are dependent on it. Using cell phones is a very convenient way for kids to communicate with their friends.
Students have become accustomed to being able to communicate with anyone, at any time, with texting and cell phones. They are annoyed if they can't get through to someone, or if the responses to the texts aren't instantaneous. They are much more likely to say something offensive over a mobile phone than in person or in public. There are fewer moral and personal restrictions when cell phones are available.
Mobile phones do help teens keep in closer touch with other teens, but is not necessarily a good thing. For teens who abuse the privilege, it is easier to respond in an inappropriate manner if they get angry at someone. In the old days, these kids had to wait until the next day to express anger, but not it can be immediately. Gossip and vindictiveness can spread much more quickly too. In terms of teens have an outlet in the case of a dangerous situation they are good, but some teens probably generate dangerous situations through the use of cell phones too.
To me, the big thing is that teens are now in touch with each other all the time. This changes (and I think might strengthen) their relationships with each other. A circle of friends can now spend much more time "together" than they used to. Some people, as you can see from previous posts, think cell phones reduce the amount of communication -- I think the amount of communication actually increases.
Most young people that I know that have cell phones truly can't function unless thay have it with them. The amount of texting between teens amazes me. It seems that even if they are in the same area they will text each other instead of communicationg verbally. I am afraid that this is going to lead to a generation of people who can not communicate effectively face to face.
In some ways, they provide a sense of security to the parents. Parents think they have a better sense of where their children are, and that the children are safer because of this. I guess that is open to interpretation.
In the school where I work, there is a strict 'no cell phone use' during school policy. It is violated constantly, and the cell phones are taken to the office till the end of the day. It is one more distraction to kids who are supposed to be learning. To me, it is understandable that they are distracted. What really bugs me is that frequently it is a *parent* texting them during class! They are well aware of the policy. If it is an emergency, we have ways of contacting their children for them, but I have actually had parents become angry because they feel that they should have the right to interrupt. Need I add that these are also the parents who blame the school when their kids are failing due to not turning in work?
Everything is immediate. Communication, information, games, photos...it's all at their fingertips. I've noticed that our new cell phone policy at school has cut down on much of the forbidden use in school since now the phone is taken until detention is served which in some cases may be a few days. Of course, that would be like cutting off the student's right arm for many of my kids.
The cell phone has become more important to them than most everything else. Their lives are programmed into those things, and without them, they've lost their calenders, their numbers, their mobile facebook connections, everything.
Of course, they are shocked when I tell them I don't own a cell phone. I prefer not to be found, and I can entertain myself without having electronic games at my beck and call. They simply can not comprehend. To them, I am a dinasaur. Ha! :)
My children have started asking for one, however. They are now in 3rd and 5th grades. My response was that they might get a Tracfone with no bells and whistles used just for contacting me when they reach middle school and begin practicing, competing, and traveling different places with soccer and baseball teams.
Mobile phones have no doubt added immediacy to many people's lives, and brought people together since they are no longer linked by landlines which forced people to be home to communicate. It has also decreased the effectiveness of communication because since there is so much of it, most of it is abbreviated, indexed, and hyphenated.