ROCKFORD - Twenty years-ago today the way two people communicate was changed forever. The first text message was sent on December 3, 1992 by software engineer Neil Papworth to Richard Jarvis. The message was just a simple, "Merry Christmas."
Now people text dozens of times a day:
"Maybe around 50," said Candice Elsasser, commenting on how often she texts per day.
"Probably50 or so," said Trey Loggins, who says he believes that's a lot of texting.
Brittney Garrison admits she might have a problem with texting.
"I'd probably say about 200 or 300," said Garrison. Garrison says she doesn't enjoy talking on the phone. Texting is her preferred method of communication and it shows.
licensed therapist and
"It expands the world," said Sharpe. "When you need support, when you need some comfort, you can text a number of friends. Somebody's going to respond more often than not."
And that convenience factor of texting is what motivates so many people to text.
"We always have to be in contact," said Jeff Cook, who says he's addicted to texting. "We always have to be networked with our friends."
Trey Loggins says this type of communication helps him up his game with the ladies.
"I can text girls easier that way," said Loggins.
"A lot of my bosses like to text instead of calling," said Elsasser who says she works several jobs while attending college. "It's just easier and they can check it whenever."
Although texting may increase the amount of contact humans have with other humans, it doesn't necessarily help mold humans socially. The lack of face to face interaction involved with texting is making today's generation lack in social skills.
"We learn social cueing by looking at another person," said Sharpe.
"We develop pro-social skills of empathy by looking into the eyes of another person and when you text you don't have that other person present."
That lack of face to face interaction can also make a text message backfire. Sometimes what the person on the receiving end of a text message sees is not what the sender meant to send, figuratively and literally.
"Auto-correct has done me wrong multiple times," said Kahla Conley. "I've called people names I didn't want to call them, I've said things I didn't mean to say."
Conley mentions she prefers the old method of calling on the phone to texting. She says sometimes it's just easier to say what you have to say verbally then trying to type it out. Conley says she still sends about 20 texts a day, even though it's not her favorite type of communicating.
Sometimes the message goes to the wrong person.
"Texting the wrong girl... that's happened before," said Loggins.
Sharpe says those instances of misinterpreted texts or texts meant for other people can land people in her office for therapy.
"When it comes to the counseling, it's usually because of a troubling event of something that was said or shared or perhaps texted to other people and you inadvertently got the text," said Sharpe.
"That creates a lot of havoc."