By Yay Padua-Olmedo

Intexticated. Anyone been diagnosed as such?

I hope you’re not one of them―perpetually romancing your smart phone, turning catatonic once the gadget slips from your grasp.

Some say it’s a social malady, just like alcohol addiction; so is it possible that some enterprising folks may already have rehab centers for the intexticated?

“Intexicated” refers to someone who is distracted by texting or composing an email on a handheld device while walking or driving, thus unaware of his surroundings.

So serious is this epidemic that the Automotive Club (AAA) of  Southern California has, in its recently launched road safety campaign, lumped drinking and texting as the major causes of fatal road accidents; “with nine people killed and 1,000 injured daily in America,” notes the advert.

I wonder if the message’s target audience even noticed, or if they even care―because serious and fatal car crashes attributed to cellphone use continue to daily hog the headlines in these parts.

Intextication is not just a road safety concern. It is a serious problem pervading mostly young people and a lot of social media-enamored adults.

Experts report that since the advent of the smart phone, hordes of youngsters are sleeping less, hardly socializing and are depression and suicide-prone.

This teacher has seen this trend first-hand among students. With less sleep, they find it hard to concentrate and do their course works. It’s as if knowledge enters their heads in a flash, then exits as soon as it’s been discussed, reported or written about. Ask about the topic the week after and it seems to have been erased from their memory.

Because if they fiddle with hordes of texts, sites and apps day and night, all they really catch are soundbites or snapshots of information―too flimsy to even make sense of. That’s poor substitute for disciplined thinking or analysis.

A flooded mind is like a river cluttered with debris―murky and unable to freely flow. No wonder youngsters or the intexticated lack focus, get into accidents easily, struggle with process and systematic thinking, or fail to even carry decent conversations.

Sometimes I think some of my students have already turned into zombies. Imagine them sleep-deprived, mind foggy and numbed because of their incessant net surfing. Yes, they raise their hands at roll call.

But come discussion time, they simply turn ghost-like―unresponsive, or simply asleep, but with eyes wide open. Some make you feel they’re focused on what’s on the table while their fingers are busy with their cell phones under their desks.

Technology is a blessing, but when abused can be a vexation, and therefore deadly.

Intextication, like intoxication, has its consequences. Ask recovering alcoholics. The road back is bumpy, but not impossible, by God’s grace.

That’s why this warning: Luke 21:34 34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life…”

Ephesians 5:18 “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”

Be intexticated instead with the Word, which leads to life, wisdom and sobriety.

Yay believes that her purpose as a Christian is to become salt and light where God has placed her. Aside from teaching Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations at Southville Foreign University in Las Pinas City, Philippines, she conducts motivational and business seminars and write inspirational materials. You can visit her blog at http://nuggetslifeslittlelessons.blogspot.com/

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