The Never-Ending Text Message Pile-Up

If you forgot your phone at home, would you go back to get it? Of course you would! Now, if you forgot your wallet at home, would you go back to get it? possibly In other words, while we can survive without our wallets, we can’t survive without our phones.

Much research has been devoted to the growing reliance on phones of today’s generation. Arlene Harris, a telecommunications entrepreneur, powerfully stated in a recent article that “there are more cell phones in use than people, but just measuring the number 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’s even more amazing is the level of impact these devices have.

Phones are used for almost everything and have essentially become extensions of our bodies. They tell us when to wake up and when to sleep, remind us of doctor 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 inaccessible, and navigation apps have allowed us to travel farther, safer and more efficiently than ever before. The mobile phone revolution even played a role in court decisions. In an article by Sarah Jeong, she discusses how in the 2014 Supreme Court case Riley v. California, Chief Justice John Roberts identified phones as an integral part of human existence, a decision that has already affected numerous areas of law.

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So it’s no surprise that this reliance 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 states that “Messaging apps are no longer just a place for close friends and family; now they’re also where we sync with our parents class, business contacts, and all the expected attendees 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 attributes this to “everyone i want[ing] to meet each other where we are most engaged and receptive.” Even YU falls into this category. While in the past, announcements about events could be limited to emails, now there are numerous group chats for all purposes, including Jewish events, clubs, speakers, and much more

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Almost every time I pick up the phone, I find myself lost in a sea of ​​WhatsApp messages from random group chats. Sometimes I feel like if I’m away from my phone for a significant amount of time, I have to spend a similar amount of time catching up on my unread messages. The club’s large number of ads and group chats prevent one from finding the most important messages from friends and family.

The feeling of having to catch up on messages or see a lot of emails can be very overwhelming and stressful. However, there are ways to deal with 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 company email address, allowing you to keep your messaging apps almost exclusively personal. Also, if you are not interested in being contacted by a company, feel free to leave the chat or unsubscribe. As Stern points out, “we can’t be engaged and responsive if we can’t sort the important from the unimportant.” Likewise, if you’re rarely going to read any of the messages in 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 catch up or make sure you answer them all before bed.
Since we live in an age that is so dependent on technology, it is of the utmost importance for us to actively determine the role our phones play in our lives. Dealing with the never-ending backlog of text messages that many of us have can be daunting. However, by setting aside time to respond, separating the important from the unimportant and not hesitating to leave chats, we move from a state of constant stress to one of undivided attention on the most important things in life.

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