The Never-Ending Text Message Pile-Up

If you forgot your phone at home, would you go all the way back to retrieve it? Of course you would! Now, if you forgot your wallet at home, would you go all the way back to retrieve it? Possibly. In other words, if we can survive without our wallets, we cannot survive without our phones.

Much research has been devoted to the current generation’s increasing dependence on telephones. Arlene Harris, an entrepreneur in telecommunications, powerfully stated in a recent article that “there are more cell phones in use today than there are people, but quantity alone trivializes the importance of the cell phone to those who rely on it. ” In other words, while the sheer number of phones in this world is remarkable, what is even more remarkable is the level of impact of these devices.

Phones are used for almost everything and have become essential extensions of our bodies. They tell us when to wake up and when to sleep, remind us of our doctor’s appointments, deposit checks and provide us with endless forms of entertainment. Cell phones have also revolutionized many aspects of society. Health apps have brought medical care to places that were previously unreachable, and navigation apps have allowed us to travel farther, safer and more efficiently than ever before. The cell phone revolution has even played a role in judicial decisions. In an article by Sarah Jeong, she discusses how in the 2014 Supreme Court case Riley v. California, Chief Justice John Roberts identified telephones as an integral part of human existence, a decision that has already affected many areas of law.

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So it’s no surprise that this dependence on phones leads to an endless list of unread messages. In Joanna Stern’s article “Sorry I Missed Your Text: Messaging is the New Email,” she says that “messaging apps are no longer just a place for close friends and family; they’re now where we connect with classmates, business contacts and sync every expected attendee of the upcoming family reunion. While in the past companies and organizations would spam our email addresses, now they often reach us via text. Stern writes this to “everyone because of[ing] to meet us where we are most engaged and responsive. Even YU falls into this category. While in the past, announcements about events would be limited to emails, now there are many group chats for all different purposes, including Judaic events, clubs, speakers and more.

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Almost every time I pick up my phone, I find myself lost in a sea of ​​WhatsApp messages from random group chats. I sometimes feel that when I am off my phone for a significant amount of time, I then have to spend a similar amount of time catching up on my unread messages. The large amount of announcements and club group chat prevent one from finding the more important messages from friends and family.

The feeling of catching up on messages or seeing a lot of emails can be very overwhelming and stressful. However, there are ways to manage the constant cell phone notifications while still being fully active in our lives. To better separate work and family, Stern suggests relegating certain messages to your business email address, allowing you to preserve your messaging apps as almost exclusively personal. In addition, if you are not interested in a business contacting you at all, do not hesitate to leave or unsubscribe from the chat. As Stern points out, “we can’t be engaged and responsive if we can’t sort the important from the unimportant.” Similarly, if you rarely read any of the messages from a group chat, maybe think again before joining. Finally, to limit the long list of texts, you can set aside certain times of the day to stop or make sure you answer them all before going to sleep.
Because we live in an era that is so dependent on technology, it is of the utmost importance that we actively determine what role our phones play in our lives. Confronting the never-ending text message that many of us have can certainly be daunting. However, by setting aside time to react, separating the most important from the unimportant and not hesitating to shut down chats, we move from a state of constant stress to one of undivided attention to the most important things in life.

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Photo Caption: WhatsApp notifications

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