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Navigating the TEXTING phenomenon

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Comments (16)

(16) richard, April 17, 2012 12:28 PM

Even though texting is an essential part of my life, it should be kept solely for the day to day practical needs one has, like "Minyan tomorrow is at 7.05. Please confirm" or "If you need help with the shopping, please let me know as soon as possible" etc. It certainly should rarely, if ever, be used to replace normal HUMAN contact, i.e. talking or meeting people when that is possible. Too many times I have come across texts that declare "The levaya of .... will be at 2 oclock" or similar. This would be in situations hwere the recipient did not have any knowledge that the decased had even been ill for a few days. If the sender had bothered to think before sending it out, they might have called up to instead and ask if their friend knew that so-and -so had not been well and unfortunately etc. Other such terse nonchalant texts also often occur. They might happen because people find it hard to communicate verbally. In such cases a text is usually worse as in the cases mentioned. Often it is just that they cannot be bothered. Either way it is ften because texts are free for most people! Is that a license to be thoughtless? I think not. Let's not dehumanise ourselves and others and think more regularly about what we text and indeed if texting really is as necessary as we seem to make it. Let it be free but let's not be "Novol Bireshus Hatorah" which essentially means "Degenerate with a licence".

(15) Anonymous, August 18, 2008 9:41 PM

texting-no good

Excellent points HOwever, I disagree on one idea---the fact that we can communicate via text msg something we would otherwise feel uncomfortable communicating is not neccessarily an advantage . Part of growing and maturing is facing people, and communicating directly, whether it be easy or difficult. Hiding ourselves behind a text message is an unproductive cop-out.

(14) david, August 13, 2008 3:44 PM

face it: it's an addiction,and we know how to deal with those. i never take my cell to shachris,turn it completely off on shiurim and min/maar,etc. if a cell rings in shul during davening it's an automatic 5 sh. fine

(13) Sha'ul, August 11, 2008 9:14 AM

Uhhh, hang on just a minute...

I gotta read this text mess first...

(12) David Cohen, August 8, 2008 12:53 PM

Just a tool

It's been expressed here before, but the point to keep in mind is that texting capability is a fantastic technology that can be used either well or poorly. I think the main problem is that our codes of etiquette that we have built up around talking, both the things that we say and the way we interact with people who are/aren't part of the conversation, haven't yet been adapted to the new technology, so that texting and to a certain extent even mobile phone conversations are still largely an etiquette-free zone. However, if we have the Torah to guide us and we maintain the awareness that we must scrutinize ALL of our interpersonal interactions in its light, then texting presents no challenge. We simply have to be as careful with it as (we try to be) when speaking, and nobody will have any reason to call us rude, inconsiderate, or any of the other epithets that we may want to hurl at some texters.

Greetings from Houston,

David C.

(11) Chaya, August 6, 2008 10:05 AM

You Have My Attention

Dear Rabbi Salomon,

I am making eye contact with your video image, even as we speak. You have my complete attention.

Where can I enter that Mary Poppins contest?

Text me.

(10) tzippy, August 5, 2008 7:57 PM

better than guns ...

... I suppose .. I'm with Richard, it's not the tool's fault (and remember that cell phones were invented by clever Israelis!) ... it is all within the power of the user to use wisely and remember basic manners. As for children .. teach .. by example .. good example.

(9) Asher, August 5, 2008 3:18 PM

it certainly is out of control

I have to say , Reb Yaakov you did it again. It is amazing that people may not see how new technology can be disastrous at the end. My son has a cell phone and I never let text messaging as I have a total of 5 children with phones and my wife and I have one as well. The cell phones are a great neccesity just to keep in touch, etc however when one of my sons started using the phone two monthes ago and the bill went over minutes for the first time I sat with a Verizon personel and I was shown how text messages would be much more advantagous and certainly less expensive. So I tried it for a month and had unlimited texting. Well my wife and I of course did not use texting at all but that same son who went over the minutes did not use the talking part of the phone practically at all, but he did manage to use 10,000 text minutes.I said thank you Verizon for not having him use 10,000 real minutes. These kids using texting is using slangs and shortcuts for words and they will never learn how to spell correctly, let alone talk to anyone correctly because everything is in texting talk which make absolutely no sense to me. The question is it good , I say not, but the whole world is doing it as the whole world is sending everything my email as well. Soon the Post Offices can just close down and everyone will have to send their Bar Mitzvah & Wedding invitations and all their bills, etc to their guests or business associates via Email.
I guess it is the way of the world..
Thank you for a wonderful blog as always.

(8) Mark Douglas Obenour, August 5, 2008 10:53 AM


Texting, Video Games, Computer Games, MP3's, IPOD's...have lead to the youth and adults of the world being tuned out of reality and into a virtual world. During the Summer I used to hide the Nintendo Games, turn off the cablevision and make the family go out and bicycle or walk or play a board game. Now if you suggest something like that it's akin to taking away their human or constituional rights.

(7) Ruth Housman, August 5, 2008 9:40 AM

the sub-text

How interesting, isn't it, that what makes life easier for us all, can also be something could be viewed as negative? When answering machines came in people loved the convenience and yet those people whose job it was to greet warmly on the phone, well they disappeared and automatic canned messages took their place. I don't think anything can really take the place of the warmth of eye to eye contact so I do agree, and yet, here we are. Hear we are. We have a new way of communicating and it's fast and we can go around the world in seconds these "daze". We are losing as we are gaining. We gain as we lose. Life is about PARADOX wherever we look. However you slice a magnet there is always a negative and a positive pole.

What's next?

(6) SusanE, August 5, 2008 9:14 AM

Score Points for the PC's !!

(2) Gary 8/5/2008 8:40:00 AM
and yet Susan
You use your PC computer to view, no?

Hi Gary....Yep, you bet !! I use my PC daily for
There is so much that is good here on Aish.
I was sort of being Tongue-In-Cheek about having a PC cause I do have one....and someone successfully marketed one to me about 10 years ago.
The tongue and cheek part is I'm not so different from those kids who text all day long.
I comment in columns like this and use far too many words doing it. Ooops there I go again.
Thanks, Gary! I appreciate your T-I-C post.

(5) Richard Norby, August 5, 2008 8:49 AM

It's a tool, not good or bad in itself

Texting is another tool, and like all tools can be used well or poorly. The issue is not the tool, but the character of the tool user. Texting has been an amazing enrichment to my life as it has helped me stay in much closer contact to my children. They will answer a text before they answer a phone call. Rudeness, such as that the Rabbi described and illustrated, is rudeness wether it's with your cell phone or not. Blaming the tool for people's character flaws is a rationalization. Is texting a temptation to addiction? Perhaps for some people. So are sugar, caffeine, romance novels, television, etc. As the Rabbi said, there are pros and cons--as there are with many things in life. Rather than blaming our characther weaknesses on the external thing (cell phone, tv, sugar, romance novel), we should be focusing on our own character.

(4) Gary, August 5, 2008 8:40 AM

and yet Susan

You use your PC computer to view, no?

And yes the Rabbi is dramatizig. Great rabbi, bad actor I'm afraid. That's OK.

(3) fred e chone, August 4, 2008 6:29 PM

What ever happened Fundamentals

Why as a culture (Frum Jews)do we concentrate out comes such the as what damage the Internet can cause or txt rather then the underlying issues that make some people susceptible to potential spiritual damage that others navigate away from?

(2) Rosen, August 4, 2008 3:11 PM

addiction to texting and technology

It's probably fair to say that texting has replaced the telegram service.

Texting and other technologies are definitely addictive. Now, was Rabbi Soloman serious about going about texting or was that a dramatization?

One thing I pondered is while we tend to text a lot today, even while driving, despite the dangers, I wonder if in the old days people would write letters while on their horse or camel.

As for me, I gave up texting because it really adds up on the wireless bill. Plus, I would never text while driving (it's bad enough I once got into an accident while attempting to speed-dial).

I just use my cell phone mostly for classic phone calling and mobile web surfing and e-mail when I have the time for it.

(1) SusanE, August 4, 2008 12:31 PM

There's one Born Every Minute. p.t. Barnum.

I think people have lost their minds. They don't think for themselves. I doubt most have an original thought. Ever!
We are totally the Monkey see Monkey do, low intelligence, illogical, follow the herd generation.

This Rabbi, is a incredibly frightening thing to realize. With a little technology and the BIG business marketing it as fun, the media can control our actions, and how we spend our time and our money, and control how we think.

Gee whiz, I have texted and been texted. I think it is the dumbest thing to do with my time, since someone sold me a PC computer.


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