As a Young Life leader you spend a lot of time communicating with kids by text messaging. If you don’t have a cell phone with a full keyboard you should probably go out and buy one TODAY! Your fingers will thank you later.
Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with text messaging. I am 33 years old. I did not grow up with a cell phone in my hand at all times. Students today are always a text away. You can text them at anytime and they will respond to you, even in school! The great thing about text messaging is the quick response you receive from kids. Texting can even go deep. As a Young Life leader I have had really meaningful conversations with kids over text messaging, 160 characters at a time.
My hesitation lies in the fact that many of us youth leaders are now ONLY using text messaging to communicate with kids. Don’t give up on verbal communication! Tone of voice, emotion, genuine empathy and compassion are only communicated verbally.
If you have tried to have coffee or lunch with a high school student lately, doesn’t it seem that their response to verbal communication has declined rapidly? Have you been the “victim” of 2 conversations at once – one in person, and one that the other person is holding with someone else over text messaging? If you have ever done this to someone, REPENT! LOL! (sorry, just couldn’t resist)
I found this recent Pew research survey that proclaimed that students’ main communication tool is text messaging. We think, um yeah, not really news, but what does this really mean? It means that kids are actually losing the skill of interacting with a person face to face. Have you seen kids sitting side by side texting each other, instead of just talking? How do we engage them? How do we model healthy communication, while still being relevant to their culture?
Can life changing impact for Jesus Christ happen over text messaging solely?
Please let me know your thoughts. Leave a comment!