You have no items in your cart. Want to get some nice things?Go shopping
I remember laughing at the Carrie Bradshaw episode where one of her boyfriends broke up with her on a post-it. The idea that someone would convey such a personal message on a tiny, squared piece of paper using less than 140-characters seemed, at the time, so ridiculous. Enter Generation Z, where entire relationships and break-ups occur via a similar-sized screen using the language de jour, Text Messaging. For this generation, it appears, speaking on the telephone is a rare experience, like mall shopping and buying CD’s.
The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) defines language as a set of socially shared rules; speech as the verbal means of communication; articulation as how speech sounds are made; and fluency as the rhythm of speech.
While there are not peer-reviewed research studies to prove that text messaging (augmentative communication) is an actual deterrent to present or future communications, technology appears to have given birth to a new, albeit silent, global voice.
A while back if there was a cognitive misunderstanding regarding communication the consideration would be that there was some sort of language disorder. Current technologies have provided innovative ways to convey the same understanding, sharing of thoughts, ideas, and feelings without utilizing one word. Today, young people literally sit next to each other and text entire conversations; which appears to be the preferred method of personal interaction.
According to a Pew Internet and American Life Project entitled Writing, Technology and Teens “…texting abbreviations and acronyms are now showing up in formal writing. Out of a study of 700 youths aged 12-17, sixty percent don’t consider electronic communications such as messaging to be writing in the formal sense; 63 percent say it has no impact on the writing they do for school, and yet 64 percent report that they inadvertently use some form of shorthand in their formal writing…”
With virtually every product, service, and answer to any question available with a swipe of a finger, SmartYouths seem to live more intellectualized and highly-defined existences than their predecessors. Consider, there might come a time when young people realize a great deal of time has transpired in between verbal conversations and plan a mass get together in order to converse in sentences. After everyone has their favorite refreshment and is settled in their comfy spots, as one body they lean into each other and part their lips to begin the lively exchange and discover their voices are now like dial-up modems and Gameboys®; silent memories.
Initially, this sounds like the worst thing that could possibly happen; but Marc Prensky’s prophetic article Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants© offers a remarkably salient and brilliant insight on the global future of our children. Prensky explains in great detail the definition of the Digital Native, which is a young person who is proficient in computer/video game/and online-speak; whereas a Digital Immigrant is someone where Digital is not their first language but who is amenable to learning how Technologies work. Prensky segues into explaining the societal and academic learning curves between the two and how early access to digital technologies and social media have caused probable developmental changes in the brains of young people, which require teachers to determine a more conducive way of engaging students academically to make learning fun for the New Natives, so they will have the fundamentals needed to assimilate in what Baby Boomers still perceive as their today’s society; which, in the 21st century, is definitely no longer true.
Baby Boomers who purchase game systems for SmartYouths have no idea that these tiny technologies house the ability to double as a “cable” box or stream shows from places with odd names like Hulu®, VUDU®, HBO Go®, and Amazon Prime®. There appears to be a morbid fascination with and occasional annoyance of the SmartYouths’ abilities to multi-text their Instagram®, Tumblr®, and Facebook® accounts while doing homework (and still present a good report card). Watching the SmartYouths playing video and “board” games online with friends around the country, visiting multiple websites and text messaging their friends and significant others virtually all day, provokes the question: how do young adults find the time to marry and have children.
Agreeing to get rid of the house phone(s) and allow SmartYouths to have their own cell phone removes the days of yore when the land line would ring incessantly and parents could eavesdrop hear their children’s plans. All plans are now made via that pesky Text Messaging. Texting is like a global secret society for young people. All that participate in this team sport are privy to weird hieroglyphic-looking acronyms passing as an acceptable language; and sometimes it is the catalyst for surprising verbal outbursts, e.g. real tears, high levels of pisstivity, and snort-laced guffaws.
After reading Prensky’s article, there is an ambivalent feeling regarding the thought of future generations no longer engaging in verbal discourse. SmartYouths vehemently declare that texting is talking. Surprisingly, Generation Z is also called The Silent Generation. If words make up the message, eyes read the words, and the brain accepts the intent; then, how does the voice enhance the interaction? The larynx is not equipped to receive data updates; therefore, there may come a time when the human voice box is retired. If still around, the “loss” will resonate with the Old Timers who still remember heated debates, babies’ laughter, and romantic banter. With the possible advent of 3-Dimensional printed foods/furniture/and transplantable organs; hologram television, intergalactic condos; and the exponential increased speed of the Internet there is a high probability that nimble fingers will become the new vocal cords for a new multi-techlingual generation.
CeeJaye @CeeJayeWrites is a freelance writer and self-proclaimed Literary Chameleon. Her work includes nearly four years as a columnist for London’s LIVE Magazine, penning an episodic series for N.Y. Cable Access Television, and co-authoring “Racism and Real Life” for academic journal, The Radical Teacher. Living abroad heightened Cee Jaye’s appreciation for food, art, and travel. Currently, she resides in Southern California with her family and has completed her first novel.