Tuesday, July 5, 2011

In The News- Too Much Texting

In the pheononom known as texting, social media, and other techonology that is rocking the nation...or world, the questions about the safety and other issues arise. You've probably heard about it countless times every day.

Governments banned social media like youtube and twitter to prevent people from getting the news of uprisings out. Parents and other health officals alike ask "is your teen spending too much time on the computer or on their phone?"

In our world today, we are being stormed by countless messages every day. Fifty years ago there was no such thing as Facebook or cell phones. There were phones where your whole street could listen in on your conversation and very large, complicated computers that could only do basic functions. So today in this post of "In The News" I'm talking to you about what others are saying about texting and how it might effect us. Sure it's everywhere these days and now I'm joining in on the yapping.

These days the average american teen sends and receives close to 3,000 text messages per month. Part of this reason is attributed to unlimited texting plans where you can send and get as many text messages as you want. Some teens send and get as many as 140 text messages a day. If you're not believing it, it's true.

And it's not just teens who do this, it's children and adults too. Some parents are on their cell phones more than their kids and there are even children as young as six or seven who have cell phones. (Which of course I think is totally unreasonable, I mean, who is your seven year old going to have to call?)

But since everything has conquences, texting is among this. Recent reports have stated that many kids who send lots of text messages a day are starting to notice thumb cramping, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other damages. Some physicians and psychologists worry that too much texting can cause anxiety, distractions in school or work, repeating cases of too much stress, and sleep deprivation.

Other worries include bullying, sexting, and danger while texting while driving. In my personal experience, I once lost my phone somewhere around school (I knew it was at school I had had it in my pocket the morning I lost it) I not only felt out "of the loop" and disconnected from my friends and family, but I also felt relieved and more relaxed knowing that I didn't have to worry about answering someone's text or call. I've also stayed up late into the night texting friends which in the morning I regretted because I was tired at school (in the summer it's not so bad).

Some people worry about if this will effect the seperation process between teens and their parents. These days since you can talk to your parents from anywhere, it's like always have your parent by your side. Other concerns are a lack of attention, the problem of multitasking and if some teens are uncomfortable with face-to-face communication. While texting does give you a moment or a while to reply, there is the lack of closeness or the feeling of spending time with others when you have a face-to-face communication.

With the worries there are some good things too. According to an article on The Washington Post, one professor states that his students are better writers than they used to be since emailing and texting came out. This is one argument against the commonly found "texting and other social media is ruining my child's spelling, grammar and quality". I've known people who use "2" instead of "to" and "@" instead of "at". But while others may do this, in my own social preference of fiends and family we usually take the time and space to write out the words and we use punctuation. I'll sometimes use 2 or @ when I'm crunching for space in a 160 -letter limit messages, but other than that I'm fine spelling it all out. And personally, I'm a writer, I'm going to spell everything out. It just seems kinda silly not to.

Other benefits are that you can quickly change plans, arrange rides, and you can quickly reach help in an emergency. There's been many nights last year where my usual ride couldn't drive me and quickly told me over a text and I then was able to arrange a ride. All in less than thirty minutes over texting.

So if you're worried about spending too much time on the phone or if you know someone who does, there are ways you can try to cut down on the time spent on the phone. Ask whoever or yourself to turn off the phone for a certain amount of time. That way they won't hear the buzz or see the screen light up and want to reply back. You could also put the phone away at night if it causes problems while sleeping or use it only at certain times during the day. And of course, you can always restrict how many text messages are sent and received.

So Readers, how many text messages do you usually get/send? Do you even use texts? Have you ever experienced troubles from texting too much or problems such as bullies over texting?

Resources used for this post:
Upfront Magazine: October 5, 2009 Vol. #142 NO. 3
6,473 Texts a Month, But at What Cost?

Other Pages with additional information:
WebMD: Too Much Texting Increases Health Risks in Teens.
NYTimes: Too Much Texting is Linked to Other Problems.


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