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R U aware of texting dangers?
Jennifer Kardell
Antelope Staff

Imagine yourself driving down the road, listening to music, having a good time, and your phone goes off. You have just received a text message. Do you respond? Most drivers do; however, some drivers don’t live to tell about it.

Texting has become a big issue recently. Of course, it’s a great social means to send a quick message. However, is the ease of social networking through texting as beneficial as you think?
Texting has become one of the top forms of communication. It’s hard to imagine not having text messaging on cell phones for some users. Students on campus share different views about the issue than their professors and advisors.

Allie Nightingale, a junior elementary education major from Kearney, is the president of the Alpha Phi sorority on campus and uses text messaging and has even admitted to texting while driving. For her, texting is used as a social means. “I like to use texting because it’s quick and to the point. You can text places that you cannot talk on the phone like work, class, doctor's office, etc.”

Tracy Lungrin, greek advisor and leadership coordinator for UNK, can see where students like Nightingale are coming from when it comes to texting. However, in contrast to student views of texting, points out the disadvantages of text messaging. “I think there are disadvantages for students who primarily use texting as their main form of communication. They have less face to face and personal conversations with one another. I see students who text each other when they should be talking and personally interacting with one another, such as in confrontational situations or in dating relationships. This truly delays social development in college students.”

Lungrin points out one of the issues that texting has become. Texting has eliminated much of the face to face conversation she had during her college experience. “This was a conversation that many of my friends who graduated from college 10 to 12 years ago discuss. We are very thankful that texting and Facebook were not a part of our college experience because we felt that we wouldn’t have developed some of the communication and confrontation skills that our ‘old school college experience’ demanded from us. There was only one way to tell your roommate that you were unhappy with him or her and that was to talk to them. There was only one way to ask somebody out—via phone or in person. We were forced to deal with the awkwardness and the rejection that may come with some of those experiences, but it also prepared us to enter the world of adulthood.”

Diminishing of conversations, social skills, harming relationships, distractions from class…seems like texting has caused multiple issues, but the list is not done yet. Possibly the biggest issue on the list is texting while driving. People who text while driving are 23 percent more likely to be in a car accident. Of all cell phone related tasks which include talking, dialing or reaching for the phone—texting while driving is the most dangerous. The state of Nebraska is aware of the issue and cracking down on drivers.

If you were to look at the Nebraska state law about using cellular devices you would find there are laws already in place and have been since January of 2008. Anyone under the age of 18 years of age is prohibited from using a cellular device while driving and if caught can be punished. Most of the student body on campus is above 18 years of age, but don’t think that just because you are over 18 you’re OK. In the 2010 session of Nebraska state law revision the state will be proposing a new bill that might eliminate using cellular devices by anyone operating a motor vehicle.

Both Lungrin and Nightingale were unaware of the proposed state bill. “To be honest, I haven’t been following this issue as closely as I probably should considering it affects my student population,” Lungrin said.

“I don’t know much about it, but the state should be more strict with the laws because it is dangerous,” Nightingale added.

There are no current campus campaigns to promote safe driving techniques, but as the issue progresses it may be something organizations will begin to promote.

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