When Will Our Hotlines Stop Blinging?

I think there’s a dilemma with teenagers and their phones. No, this isn’t the seventy year-old me using my sixteen year-old body to speak out of. I’m serious. We’re overly dependent on texting, iMessaging, DMing, or whatever tool we use to send messages and receive them.

Let me break it down for you.

Think about sliding into someone’s DMs (this refers to when someone direct messages another person Twitter because he or she thinks that other person is attractive or interesting), and recognize how this concept of talking to someone we find interesting has always existed with all types of messaging methods. Two people, of the same or opposite gender, will start texting each other. They’re not necessarily a “thing” or in a relationship, heck, it doesn’t even have to be heading in that direction, it’s just two people being each other's constant texting buddy. They’re more than just friends, they’re confidantes.

This phenomenon, this constant need for someone to be texting us has consumed the way we interact with others and even ourselves. We’ve forgotten to be alone. We think that if we don’t have a person to to laugh, rant, discuss, or debate with from the moment we wake up to the moment we sleep, we’re missing out on something. Even relationships nowadays are signing us up for a serious relationship with our phones, updating our “Baes”. Any down time we have, it’s off to replying to a message, a message we’re expected to reply as soon as we see it.

Welcome to the social customs of the digital age.

I’ll admit, when I don’t have a messaging buddy, I yearn for one. I yearn for someone to confide in, but when I have this buddy, I remember what a chore it is. If I don’t reply immediately it’s as if I’m giving the cold-shoulder; I’m signifying something is wrong. You have to share every occurrence or problem in your life, and they’ll do the same to you. Every couple of hours or so you are obligated to reply back. After coming out of a 10-month relationship, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to not have seven messages every time I open my lock screen. I’ve forgotten that I do not need to stay up late until 2 conversing back and forth with someone to like I’m not lonely or to fill a void that I can’t fill all by myself.

This constant companionship can’t be healthy. I don’t think there are any concrete statistics, reports, or specific studies that can back my argument up, and, to be honest, this is quite a recent phenomenon, something that emerged as messaging became an integral part of our daily lives. From what I see and what I’ve experienced, relying on this constant companionship to keep our lives entertaining has made us forget what it’s like to be in awkward silences, or feel a moment of utter boredom, or a go a day without messaging someone back. We’ve forgotten the difference between being alone and being lonely. And, no, they are NOT the same thing.

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