Tech-Savvy Teens Too Stressed to Text

Tech-Savvy Teens Too Stressed to Text

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Editor's Note: In the digital age, technology is supposed to make life easier, but researchers have found that stress related to technology has grown among young people. YO! Youth Outlook interns offer their perspectives on how technology may or may not stress them out.

Life Without Technology
Right now, I’m without my cell phone and it feels paralyzing.  I left it in my friend’s car last night.  Now, I’m forced to find a pay phone in downtown San Francisco, a situation that puts me at a major disadvantage.  I might have to walk to Market Street and use a grimy public phone in the L’s (SF’s Tenderloin).  I could ask to use the phone of one of my associates, but I don’t want to use someone else’s phone to make my professional or personal calls.  This is a dilemma anyone who misplaces his or her phone faces.

When I was younger, most people didn’t have cell phones.  Life was different.  You were where you were, even if the place didn’t have a phone.  Now that cell phones are around, people feel like they have to always be available.  I don’t feel as much pressure from Facebook to communicate as I do from my cell phone.  Though I do use Facebook to communicate with some of my friends that may be across the country or abroad, I find it difficult to really engage in conversation with people who are that far away through Internet conversations.  I’d rather just meet in person.
Text messaging has never been my preferred method of communication.  I usually will try to communicate with my friends through the phone if possible.  I only use text messaging when I’m in a situation where I can’t talk or it’s information that I want stored in my phone for future reference like an address or account number.  All that texting back and forth for no reason is just nonsense.  
-Rodger Allen

Technology Isn't My Priority

Technology in my life is far from stressful.  I have a Facebook, a Myspace, and a Twitter page, but I hardly go on any of them.  Now that I am building my music career, I am encouraged to keep up with these social websites so that people can know what I'm working on.  My job and the majority of my networking has a lot to do with e-mail, so checking my Yahoo and Google accounts are becoming more of a "must" than they were before, but it still doesn't stress me out.  Life itself is more stressful than any site in cyberspace ever could be for me.  I do feel a bit guilty at times when I'm not able to respond to people on Twitter or Facebook when they write me a comment or message because other things are a priority at the moment, but when I get the time, I respond. 
It’s all about priorities.  I'm not an Internet "fiend" so I'm not into it as much as most people are.  I only log on when I'm bored and even then it’s only to see if someone wrote me something I feel like responding to. I don’t visit people’s pages just to look at all their pictures or “poke” them.  The flip side of my stress-free attitude is that if I do not have access to a phone for whatever reason, I feel as though Facebook and email is my backup communication tool, but if I have a phone and don’t have the internet, I’m fine. 
I use my Facebook on my down time (and most of the time I'm doing so much moving that I don’t have much time to get caught up in these social networks).  If any of these [social networking] websites were affecting me emotionally, physically or socially, I doubt I’d even visit any of them.  Stress isn’t something I need in my life and I do everything to minimize it.  And if that included deleting my Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter, I would.  I’ve done it before, but not because of stress, I only did it because I wasn’t using them.
-Ria Dixon

Texting: A Way of Life
I don’t really feel like technology makes me stress, but for other people it might. People nowadays base their entire lives on nothing but technology.  Technology makes things a little easier for me. Like things I can’t just do right then and there but on a computer, it’s a lot easier and faster at times.  If I text or call people on my cell phone and they don’t pick up or text me back, I get mad because I know for sure that they got it.  For some reason, I feel like when somebody texts or calls me I just have to respond because, nowadays, if somebody doesn’t pick up or answer, you might think something happened to ‘em.
I text my friends a lot, because most of my friends like texting, so they always make me text them.  I text people on my phone all day and night!  I have to delete my inbox every two hours on some days. Sometimes, I text back right away but for some reason, it seems like two people always end up texting me at the same time. Then I forget to text one of ‘em. People are always getting mad because they say anything could be happening to you and me not texting back makes them worry about my safety. That’s why I always try to text people back.
There’s always going to be some type of miscommunication in texts, because people never spell out whole words in their texts. That happens to me everyday. When I don’t know what they’re talking about I always call them and be like “huh? whatchu say?” and  “whatchu mean?”  Talk to me, don’t text me. That’s how I solve that problem.
-Bobby Jackson

I Don't Let Technology Stress Me Out
There's no way I'll allow Facebook run my life.  I’m grown and I don’t have time to waste on a damn computer.  People are stressed because they want to be.  They want people to throw them a pity party.  People put their business on Facebook, because they know someone will give them sympathy for it. People want to be heard, seen, appreciated and understood.
I’m a person who’s kind of anti-social, so I’m not always so open to everybody.  So texting and Facebooking really just aren’t my thing.  If I need to talk to my friends, I just tell them to come over. What’s the point of texting all day?  Just go see the person.
Texting can be confusing though, you might read something that means something completely different than what you’re thinking it means.  Once, I texted a joke to my pal and she took it like I was clowning her!  That was four months ago and we still ain’t cool to this day because of it.  So texting can be a problem at times, but like I said, it’s all on the individual.
I don’t have a Twitter, MySpace or Facebook page.   People use it as an addiction, they can’t stop and suddenly, it occupies all of their time. College kids should leave all social networks alone.  They need to focus on getting their degrees anyway. See that's why students fail classes, they put Facebook before their homework.  People need to enjoy the outside, nature and the world around them.  In my case, technology will never stress me. I know how to handle it and I put my work before playtime.
-Sean Shavers

Till Text Do We Part
I am not the only one who stresses about technology and what it means for me, my relationships, and my generation.  Stress is one of the side effects to something we all embrace most of the time, being connected to all the people in our lives.  But the problem with that is, we are always connected to all the people in our lives.  The problem is also the appeal, you’re never out of reach and neither is anyone else.  There was a point in my life when you could get in touch with me in eight ways without ever having to see me in person.  There was Myspace, Facebook, my two Yahoo accounts, a Gmail account, a texting application on my iPod touch, my cell phone, home phone and work phone.  And that for some people is still below average.  I don’t have a Twitter or Flickr account just to name a few other ways people I know tether themselves to the rest of the world.
For some people, friends of mine, they delete and remake their Facebook pages over and over again.  They are trying to regain some of the privacy they turned over so easily to anyone who cares to click only to realize a few weeks later that anonymity isn’t all its cracked up to be.  I personally change my name on Facebook about once a month, so only those people I want to find me can.  It’s a small thing, but it helps me feel like I have a little more control over who gets to see and be a part of my online life.
We all, whether we realize it or not want people to take interest in our lives, we want witnesses for even the mundane things.  Our Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts and Myspaces and any other sites you may be a part of aren’t really for us, and I’d go so far as to say they aren’t even about us, they are for and about the people we have in our lives.  All of them, the ones we love or like, or in some case hate or dislike. Cell phones or social networking allow all of us to be present in all places at all times with everyone we know.
The world has never been smaller, more cozy or more cramped and even with all the stresses that come with our ever growing web of digital synapses, we grow closer to one another no matter how far we might really be from each other.  For better or worse, till text do us part.
-Donny Lumpkins