December 3, 1992 marks the day the first ever text message was sent. It was sent from a pc to a mobile phone, and simply read “Merry Christmas”. What started out as a small tool is now one of the most used technology worldwide.

Nowadays, every smartphone is text message “friendly”, giving everyone the ability to send a text at any time. Smartphones with a SIM card allow the holder to text without wifi—everywhere.

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Text messages come in handy when in emergencies, or when you need to quickly communicate with someone, without having to call them. To call someone, you need to make sure the time is convenient for the other person. Texts, on the other hand, can be sent whenever since they don’t require an immediate reply.

I prefer texting to calling, for the mentioned reasons, but in the end, I would rather talk to someone face-to-face. You can get thoughts, emotions, and expressions across easier, without having to use emoticons, when talking face- to- face.

Personally, I think text messages should be used to make communicating more convenient, but not as an alternative for in-person communication. Although I text my friends, I still see and communicate with them everyday.

Text messages also have disadvantages. First of all, messages can be misunderstood to mean something else, since most of the time the correct ‘tone’ can be hard to detect, unless emoticons are used. Second, students who get used to texting in abbreviations and rely on auto-correct may struggle with grammar and spelling in school as well. There’s nothing wrong with texting in abbreviations when you’re in a hurry— just make sure that you actually know how to formulate sentences when in need.

Another issue with all types of texts or online communication is cyberbullying. It’s much easier to send hateful things to other people when you aren’t there to see their reactions. It’s also easy to hide your real identity behind a screen and get away with cyberbullying.

“Don’t text and drive” is a  common lesson taught these days— one that you would’ve never heard 15 years ago. Many car accidents occur because of distracted drivers, and most of the time the driver is distracted by their phone. Just ask yourself: is a text message worth risking your life for? If it isn’t, then focus on your driving, and if you really need to send a text, park somewhere and send it. Don’t do it while you’re driving—you’re risking other people’s lives, too.