Technology hard on adolescence

The thesis to this column has multiple personality disorder. It just doesn’t know what it wants to be.

The idea started on Sunday night, when I got a text from a girl I’ll call Shelby (I’m changing details to protect the innocent, and the guilty).

Shelby writes, “Heyy its Shelby.”

I respond, “Who?”

She responds, “Shelby I dnt hav my fone cuz my mom has it cuz I grounded frm it;(”

Trying to be polite, I responded, “Your name isn’t familiar.”

She responds, “Ooo hahayu got my numba but my mom has it 575-555-5555.

More forcefully, I say, “I don’t have your number and I have no idea who you are.”

She asks, “Oo well isn’t yur name samantha?”

At that point, I tell her I’m not Samantha, and I’m definitely not who she’s looking for.

And that’s when I was going to write about how it’s more awkward to get a wrong text than a wrong call, because the voice usually gives it away.

It changed after a friend forwarded me a similar tale, involving comedian Justin Long. A kid sent him a text, thinking he was Eduardo. He played along, wondering how long it would take for her to get the joke, and mangling the English language so horribly she’d have to figure it out.

My favorite text, copied verbatim: “I didn’t meeeen to igknorr u – I jest haven’t phelt like dooin anything x-ept watch TV and reeed ‘cosmo gurl’. Now I’m watching dat movie “accepted” w dat guy hoo iz in de mac cummershels.” (My spell-check just melted).

Long wrote texts like that for a MONTH, and he had to tell her he was playing a prank. She only corrected him when he spelled Justin Bieber’s name wrong.

It reminded me of Saturday, when I ran into Eastern New Mexico University communications instructor John Kirby at a local coffee shop.

We agreed to disagree on elements of television and newspapers, but we did each make salient points. I recounted stories of reporters who relied solely on recording devices and took no notes, then had no story because, as I told Kirby, “Technology can and will fail you.”

And that was going to be the thesis of the column, that cherry-picking what technology you rely on can hurt you. If Shelby or (Long’s mystery friend) had followed that rule, they would have written the number for down somewhere and not relied on the cell phone as her phonebook.

That was going to be the thesis of this column, but I think I changed my mind after I talked to a coworker who said, “I’d hate to grow up today.”

You know what, she’s right too. I’m not sure I could deal with cyber bullying if I was a kid. I’m not sure I’d like to be the one in five children who’s been solicited for sex from an adult. And I’m not sure I’d want a parent so trusting of the Internet that their refusal to vaccinate contributed to whooping cough’s resurgence in California.

So what is the thesis of this column? Maybe it’s that while I long for a childhood where I could have downloaded any music I wanted without waiting for Casey Kasem on Sunday, I’d rather not have my mom tracking me via GPS when I was just being a kid having fun.

Thesis stated: The grass is always greener on the other side. I feel better, but I don’t know why.