Hand holding phone

Link – Can helplines survive our growing fear of the phone call?

I had not really thought about this until I saw this article from the UK:

“For decades, Childline and Samaritans have offered a friendly ear. But how does that work when so many of us would rather text, email or instant message?”

Both services are adapting to this by offering text messages and webchat options for people who need to talk or get information. That’s good, because it’s clear we’re not so much of a phone call making society anymore, though given this quote from the article, maybe it’s not just about a preference, it’s also about the proximity of other people:

Children spend most of their time either at home, or at school – two places where it’s very difficult to make a private phone call. The web service has changed that. Today, children can contact Childline from school toilet cubicles, or huddled up in their bedrooms while abusive parents remain unaware. “There’s more privacy when you’re texting,” says Robinson. “I think that’s opened us up.”

Personally, I’m not young any more, but I definitely don’t do phone calls very often either. In fact, I find them to be pretty awful, and I do wonder about how much having to speak out loud where other people might hear me plays a part in that. I’ve always claimed my aversion to phone calls came from working at a helpdesk and getting yelled at. But, it really cemented itself into my daily life when I was traveling all of the time, because airports and thin-walled hotel rooms were not all that private, and now in my current workplace, which is an open office, I wouldn’t dream of making a personal call. Texts, emails, chats, etc. are all much easier to deal with for me, how about you?

For kids who need help, how often are they going to be somewhere they can talk on the phone?

Good on Childline, Samaritans and other services who have recognized this.


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