WTVM 3/31/14 Editorial: Proper use of text messages

(WTVM) - Texting a message has become the preferred way for many of us, especially younger Americans, to communicate.

It's quick and direct, but it can also be highly impersonal.

For instance, a recent pew research study shows that a high percentage of teens have been dumped by a girlfriend or boyfriend by text.

An Ohio State researcher says texting can work well to reach adolescents who might never call a suicide hotline for example, but would send a text to express themselves.

That sounds like a solid use for texting, but recently there was a very bad example of texting: Malaysian airlines informed survivors by text message that their loved ones aboard the infamous missing plane were likely dead and gone.

Outrage resulted, even though the airline claimed it tried to reach everyone by phone or in person first.

Bad news is difficult to deliver no matter how it's done, but texting makes it all the more impersonal and cold.

The reason police departments and the military use chaplains to help deliver news about a death is because it provides the survivors with immediate support and a very real shoulder to cry on.

The Malaysian airlines texting debacle can teach us all a valuable lesson.

Texting has its place...but using it to avoid personal interaction or to cut off further communication is cowardly and lazy.

Texting may be easy, but relying on texting in highly personal or sensitive situations sends the message that you really don't care after all.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to WTVM Editorial Committee or write to:

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