Dear Freshman Class of 2020: Stop Texting Your Parents
By Adam Korbl, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer of Glide
Life is about to change.
It’s hard to prepare for the moment you suddenly become an adult and yet, here it is, knocking you over the head with a giant shovel. You’ll be living miles from home, learning new things and discovering that feeding yourself is a much bigger endeavor than you had ever imagined. Most importantly, you’re going to find it challenging to stay close with the people you care about back home.
But that doesn’t have to change.
You might be tempted to try and maintain your relationships simply through texting. But while today’s messaging apps may transport your sentences hundreds of miles in a matter of seconds through the magic of the internet, they simply won’t make you feel connected to everyone you left behind. A couple of unpunctuated sentences and scattered emojis won’t really be enough to close the gap of that distance you’ll inevitably feel.
Not convinced? We have the science to back it up. A University of Michigan study found a 40 percent decline in empathy and the ability to relate to others among college students after the year 2000, when texting became our go-to method of communication. It’s also been demonstrated that emotional connectedness is particularly relevant during the social development of college-aged students. With text-only communication offering the least amount of connectedness during conversations, video conversation brings the intimacy back to digital communication, enabling the genuine connection that we need to strengthen our most cherished relationships. Plain and simple, it’s the next best thing to being there.
So when you head out into the big, bad world soon and are about to text your mom about your crazy professor or ask how to un-pink all your clothes after a bad load of laundry, consider sending a video message instead. Sure, texting is easy, but it doesn’t quite capture everything you’re trying to say or bridge the distance between you and the folks you care about back home. And as it turns out, video messaging is even faster than texting, since you don’t even have to type.
You’ll discover there’s a world of difference between getting text updates from high school friends and actually seeing their new roommates (There is no way they’re going to put up with her mess). You might not be able to sit at the dinner table with your family and tell them about your day, but with video, you can see them react with laughter (or shock) to your stories. You might not spend your evenings watching your favorite TV shows with old friends, but you can continue the tradition by exchanging genuine reactions about that unbelievable plot twist (Jon Snow!!!).
So good luck and remember – staying in touch is worth it.