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Westport Students Highlight Pitfalls of Texting

Forget thumb injuries — Staples High School senior Kerry Langstine says text messaging can have a negative effect on personal relationships.

"Sometimes, a text can come across totally different than what the [sender] meant," Kerry said. And because you can't hear the other person's tone of voice or see their body language, this can lead to fights, and thus, ruin a relationship, she said.

Friends Freja Andrews and Julia Edelman, also seniors, agreed, saying they know how easily a text can turn friends against each other.

"I've gotten into unnecessary fights because I couldn't tell if someone was being sarcastic or if they were joking," Freja said. "It happens so often, I can't pick out just one instance."

Although there's no guidebook on how to decode text messages, the girls said they look for certain signs. Typically, the teens said one word responses are used to express anger or annoyance. For example, Freja said texting "K" instead of "OK" comes across snippy.

However, short responses aren't always indicative of anger. "Sometimes people are just busy and can't really talk, so they are short. But you still might think they are mad at you," Freja said.

Spelling words out correctly and completely, as you would in formal writing, is another good indicator that someone is mad or upset. On the flip side, using text abbriviations, like "U" instead of "You" is a good sign. So is spelling words with extra letters, they said.

In the world of text messaging, using all caps is a way to express excitement. However, some people use all caps when they are angry and want to express shouting.

"It all depends on who you're talking too and the type of conversation you're having," said Kerry.

Despite the chance of a text being misinterpreted, the girls said they much prefer texting to placing a call.

"I hate talking on the phone," Julia said. "Texting is much more convenient. The only time I call someone is if I need something immediate."

Do you think texting is having a negative impact on younger generations? Please share your thoughts below.

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