Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 10/27/2009

That’s Not Cool

omgz txting!

omgz txting!

It seems to me like our parents, and other various adults, are freaking out about the technology we have available to us today. I’ve always thought that if you’re responsible — you put up all the privacy settings, you don’t talk to strangers, you generally use your brain — technology is actually a positive thing. We have so much information available to us, and I think social networking is healthy, and a good thing for kids to learn how to do. And you don’t hear about 47 year old sexual predators masquerading as 15 year old guys (or girls…) so much anymore. Unless that’s more because it’s not fresh news, rather than it’s not occurring.

But as one of my former teachers recently observed, “Technology is sucking the emotions from today’s youth. Constant contact is not a good thing.”

And I don’t know, I think that’s kind of true (says the girl who spends hours every day working on her blog, reading other blogs, social networking and whatnot). But seriously – sometimes it’s good to have time to yourself, to be with yourself. I think this is especially true when it comes to technology and relationships.

I think it’s the norm now for teens in relationships to text each other constantly. We’re in loveeeeee it’s what we do. And I think the “what are you doing, what are you thinking, what are you looking at RIGHT THIS MINUTE” thing is not exactly new to my generation…I just think it’s evolved, and possibly not in a healthy way.

I’ve had friends whose significant others will text them up to 30 times in just an hour (or more) when they’re apart, wanting to know what they’re doing and who they’re with, or just trying to distract them from whatever they’re doing, because they’re not with their significant other.  I don’t know if technology is encouraging that kind of abusive behavior (yes, that’s abuse) but it’s definitely making it easier.

So when a reader told me about That’s Not Cool – a website about technology and abuse – I was glad somebody was addressing this problem (there is abuse associated with technology that is an every day occurrence, with familiar people, that needs to end).

That’s Not Cool is so great for teens because it’s really doesn’t feel like adults preaching to the poor, easily manipulated, dumb kids, which is something I’m pretty obviously against. It feels like information is being presented to us, and we’re given the ability to chose what we think is right. For example, this video on “textual harassment” where you get to pick what you want to happen:

They have a section where you can “give and get advice, read someone’s story or tell your own” and also have Callout Cards that are deliciously sarcastic, like this one:

MeGag_DavidStatue1280x1024

So I definitely encourage people check That’s Not Cool out. And in general to just think before you text. Although “stalking” in the lighter sense of the term seems to have become more generally accepted…it’s still not a good thing.

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  • Toongrrl @ at 11:54 am, October 27th, 2009

    Texting. A blessing and a curse

  • Steph @ at 3:01 pm, October 27th, 2009

    Awesome post as always, Julie. And I totally agree that we (as a culture) are way too OK with stalking. *cough*Twilight/unhealthy relationships*cough*

  • RebJ @ at 6:36 pm, October 27th, 2009

    LOL adorable sock people!!

    I never text. I just don’t get the point in it–how can you have a proper conversation on a cell phone screen??
    Of course, I do use facebook, which basically does all the stalking FOR you with their “live news feed”, so I’m not guilt-free. I think the problem with my generation is that we have forgotten what the word MODERATION means. Not to say that a culture of excess hasn’t been developing for a long time, but when I see super-extra-mega-triple-pounder Big macs eaten and kids frantically texting the person sitting next to them, I just feel like we’ve gone to the extreme.

  • kimi @ at 8:06 pm, October 27th, 2009

    Technology abuse is becoming a big problem. I recently heard that more car accidents are caused by drivers who are distacted by texting compared to drivers who are under the influence.

  • Cottonstar @ at 8:32 pm, October 27th, 2009

    for me it’s not so much that i have too much contact with other people, rather it’s that i’ve become more self-absorbed and it’s caused me to resent technology. sure it’s fun when you update your profile on facebook or you get to look at one of your favorite blogs (this one of course!), but it’s things like twitter and constantly keeping people up-to-the-minute with things that annoys the living fuck out of me. if you post that you’re in the library between classes i might just come and visit you, but if you’re on the toilet with your cellphone out updating people via twitter about the amazing shit you just took, well count me out.

  • kanadra @ at 10:29 pm, October 27th, 2009

    I have a love hate relationship with technology. I’m so dependent on it, more than i’d like to be. That being said, i’ve never really heard of “textual harrasment” before, but it sounds terrible, and it’s just another example of how… low (is that the right word?) humanity has become. As much as I hate that things have come this far, gotten this extreme, i’m glad there’s awareness about it, and a potential solution offered to those who are willing to look for it.

  • K8AH @ at 8:36 pm, November 1st, 2009

    So, my mom took my 14 year old niece out to dinner (her granddaughter). Said teenager spent the entire time texting. I think my mom was disappointed, she wanted to enjoy a conversation with her granddaughter. I am curious to know if this is considered normal and appropriate, texting while at dinner?

  • Natasha @ at 3:01 pm, September 2nd, 2010

    @K8AH- That is not considered normal and appropriate. Even if it is just a casual meal at home or with friends, teenagers should pay attention to who they’re with. For reference, I’m 18. Generally teens are pretty good about leaving phones away from the table if they’ve been asked. Start a family policy in your family that conversation, not phones, magazines, and TV, will take place at mealtimes.

    I really loved the article, and the video was cute and informative. I just felt the need to say that not all teens consider rude texting behavior normal.

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