To be sure, the monthly bills — as high as $300 — were a problem.
But there were other, audible consequences of the fact that Alexandra Smith would pound out more than 1,000 text messages from her Razr cellphone a month: She was chatting — constantly, exhaustively — but she wasn’t talking. It got so that Smith’s parents were begging her to put the phone to her lips instead of her fingertips.
So these days Smith, 18, is practicing something that came oh-so-naturally to tides of teens before her: the art of vocal gab. Instead of holing up at home and punching out digital dialogue, Smith is making an effort to actually meet up with her three best friends and flex her larynx muscles.
“I figured I should probably go over and learn how to talk to somebody,” says the Eugene, Ore., high school senior. “I didn’t want to be the dork at college who texts all the time.”
She needn’t worry. College suitemates, even roommates, pick up their phones to ping each other. Otherwise, they’re communicating via instant messaging or the social networking sites MySpace and Facebook.
With their mouths largely shut but their laptops and flip phones open, teenagers’ bedrooms are beginning to sound like the library.