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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

An Experiment in Text-Free Living.

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 12:52 PM

Yay! Text party! Hey, lets text that cute Erik guy again! Ha ha LOL Bieber fever!
  • "Yay! Text party! Hey, lets text that cute Erik guy again! Ha ha LOL Bieber fever!"

True, I'm as attached/addicted to/surgically grafted to my iPhone as anybody. Still, that doesn't keep me from hypocritically going all Andy Rooney-rabid when I'm hanging out with people who can't be bothered to participate in a conversation because they're too busy texting every single person in their address book.

(Wait... could it be that I'm just super boring and/or a terrible conversationalist? I suppose it's a possibility... but if that's the case, then no one I know can truly be called a friend, and I might as well just give up and... and.... Ha! No! What was I thinking? That is ridiculous! I am fascinating! And handsome!)

Moving on! The Times reports on a "two-day experiment in text-free living" that took place at a private middle school in New York. It is awesome to read, and by "awesome" I mean "kind of awesome, and kind of terrifying."

Last week, researchers at the University of Maryland reported that college students who swore off social media showed signs of withdrawal similar to those of drug addicts going cold turkey. So how would scores of middle-schoolers fare under the same circumstances, what with their underdeveloped frontal lobes and raging need for affirmation?

By midday Monday, three-quarters of the way through the experiment at Riverdale, an elite private school in the Bronx, a handful of students gathered to discuss how it felt. None looked pale and ashen; none were twitching, at least visibly.

The school counselor, K C Cohen, had distributed worksheets to the group beforehand that asked, among other things: When you find yourself wanting to text/I.M./chat, is it because you need to communicate with someone right away? Or just for the sake of a casual connection?

“WANT TO!” Zachary Riopelle, a 13-year-old seventh grader answered. He underlined it, too.

The whole thing's here.

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