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Maybe you're one of those kids who spends all of his free time texting. Maybe you're not. Either way, you probably know someone who seemingly has his cellphone attached to his hand. Those kids used to be the exception, but now more and more of them are appearing in society.

Texting is slowly but surely taking the place of talking. I used to go to sleepovers with my friends and fall asleep talking to them. Now, the last thing we do before falling asleep is text. It's amazing that, in only a few years, the teenage generation has undergone such a drastic change.

Cellphones these days are meant more for texting than calling, which is evidenced by the expensive fees for placing calls and the increasingly sophisticated keyboards on many phones. The effect of this new technology on teenagers as a whole has not been tangible, but it exists nonetheless. Teenagers are simply becoming socially inept. They lack the ability to communicate with other people in a meaningful way.

Unfortunately, job interviews, class seminars and even pizza orders are not conducted by text message. Until they are, teens need the social skills necessary to get by in the world. These social skills are gained in adolescence. In general, teens who spend excessive amounts of time texting are not exposed to situations that would require the use of social skills, so many of them lack the basic ability to communicate with other people in a meaningful way.

It is better to get used to meeting people and talking to people on the phone, even strangers, in high school because one can make mistakes and learn from them. The implications of lacking social skills in the modern world are costly. If one makes a mistake on a job interview, he or she probably won't get the job. That might not seem like a big deal, but what if it was a dream job? The consequences can quickly snowball.

It's not easy for teens to step outside their comfort zone and talk to people rather than texting. Maybe it's inconvenient to whisper in your friends' ear rather than texting them a secret. However, with practice, it becomes easier and easier, not to mention the payoffs later in life.

Sometimes, teens mistake communication through technology with actual communication. However, the ability to interact with electronics is not a substitute for the ability to interact with other humans. That has never has been the case, and it probably never will be.

I cannot deny that electronics are a useful tool. In many ways they have surpassed that boundary and, in some cases, electronics have become a toy rather than a tool. The most compelling evidence of this is that the majority of the apps available for smartphones are games. That is just another reason to spend less time "plugged in" and more time connecting with real people.

Go outside your comfort zone and talk to people. You'll be glad you did. Besides, who wants to go through life with regrets?

Kelsey Auman is a sophomore at Orchard Park High School.