Is texting addictive?
"We seem to be slaves to technology these days. We have our blackberries, our cell phones, our iPods.
It's gotten so bad that, for some people, it's an unhealthy obsession, reports CBS News Correspondent Michelle Miller.
Everywhere you look, there's a telephone, fingers are walking, thumbs are talking.
According to a recent study, 72 percent of cell phone owners send text messages -- up seven percent from just last year.
Too much texting has become what some doctors are calling an addiction.
"Anything that you can become obsessed with, and you do so much that you don't do the things you need to do with family, friends, school, job -- that can be an addiction. And texting absolutely can qualify," said Dr. Dale Archer, a clinical psychologist.
And teenage girls lead the charge.
"So, my phone has like a 30 text limit and then I have to delete it. I usually delete it like every two or three hours," one admitted.
The average 100 messages a day. This teenager is a textbook case.
"I can't even count," she added.
And with excessive texting come a number of problems, including lack of eating, isolation and sleep deprivation, experts say.
But the problem isn't limited to teens. A Google search revealed thousands of hits related to adults who have run into trouble while texting.
A Chicago cop is suing the city for two years of overtime pay for time spent on his Blackberry after work. A woman in Staten Island, N.Y., fell down an open manhole while texting and walking.
"All day long, from the minute I wake up until I shut it off at night and go to sleep, I'm on the phone constantly," said Deanne Katsaros.
Deanne used her iPhone until the tendons connecting her thumb to her palm became so inflamed that she needed surgery and stitches to correct the problem.
But with so many people hooked, the question becomes, how do you unplug and still stay connected? "
"Texting: The Statistics
How much is to much? Texting among cell phone users (especially younger ones) has reached a critical point, and now scientists & psychologists are debating it's effects on our health. Some even go as far to call it addictive. Of course, texting can be beneficial to a certain degree, but again, how much is to much?
First off, think of how many texts you can send in a day? If your older (and weren't raised with cell phones), the answer is probably, "how long it takes for me to figure out how to do it.". However, our current teenage population has shown that an extraordinarily large amount can be sent in just a few moments.
Here is a real life example, however, I'll keep certain details out. A family that I know got a bill stating that their daughter, who is a teenager in high school, sent over 15,000 texts in a single month.
Lets say that this was done during January, a month with 31 days. 15,000 divided by 31 is around 483 texts a day. Divide that by 24 and you get a solid 20 texts every hour.
However, this isn't really realistic, since it represents a full 24 hour period. So if we say that she woke up at 5:00 A.M. and went to sleep at 9:00 P.M., that gives us a 16 hour period of time. So we now can divide 483 by 16 and that gives us about 30 texts an hour. Doesn't sound bad right?
Sorry to bore you with math, but this is the critical point. 30 texts is a small number for a single hour, but with 60 minutes in 1 hour, that's a text every 2 minutes, consistently, every hour of every day, for a month.
For a teen who is studying in school, this destroys any concentration that they may need to learn. Constant texts mean that attention can no longer be devoted to the task at hand, and the problem stretches outside school as well, and it can be seen many states that have passed laws against using cell phones while driving, which causes many more injuries than you would think. For more information on that, visit this link here:http://www.infographicsshowcase.com/driving-while-texting-inf...
Why do we text?
Now, I am not saying that texting is totally pointless. In fact, it has been very useful to me on certain occasions. Texting has more advantages than just being a cheaper way of sending information. It is faster, more to the point, and sometimes, it is easier to do than calling someone. But texting is pointless in some cases. Many conversations that take place seems to be texting just for texting.
Socialization is extremely important for humans, as a general statement. It helps us learn and interact and gain experience needed to live. Without it, we wouldn't be nearly as advanced as we are today. However, texting, according to many scientists and psychologists, isn't what you would call "healthy" socialization. There is a big difference in interacting with another person face-to-face, than through a cell phone.
It becomes a problem when you have to text that person, for whatever reason, and you find that either you can't stop or can't put the phone down. Do you eagerly await for your ringtone to go off, signalling that you have a text?
When I think of the word addictive, I don't think of cell phones, I think of things such as cigarettes and alcohol and other, more lethal drugs. How addictive something is is hard to quantify, but many psychologists agree that it has become more than just "texting a lot". However, technology will progress, and we may have other addictive things on our table. Already, with the rise of social websites such as Facebook and Twitter, we see that people spend a great deal of time checking their profiles and playing games for large quantities of time.
Now, would texting really be a bad thing if it had no health risks? Many debate the amount of radiation that is released when talking or texting on a cell phone, but in my opinion, that is not what you should be worried about.
As a person who gets migraines from a range of sources, I can see some health consequences of texting to long. Headaches in general aren't a big problem, but they are most certainly annoying and can lead to more serious issues if they persist. Focusing on a single screen for too long may cause vision problems, just as staring at a computer screen can cause problems.
Now, let's go back to our texting scenario. In all likelihood, it is entirely possible that she did not go right to bed at 9:00 P.M.. She may have stayed up into the night texting, in which case she is losing sleep and the energy to go school. This may reflect on grades and progress in classes. If you are older and go to college or have a job, you cannot afford to be tired and have an accident on the road. This is assuming that your just tired, and not texting while driving, which is the greatest health risk.
Driving While Texting
The greatest threat that come from cell phones is when you use them while driving. This is number one at a long list of what many called distracted driving. Now, you have heard of people putting on makeup or shaving or reaching down to grab that coffee, and these things occasionally end up causing a crash, However, because it is so easy to text (for some), many think that it is equally easy to text and drive. This has been proven to not be the case, because texting reduces the amount of attention placed on the road. It only takes a split second for that truck in front of you to put on his brakes, and if your not prepared to stop, your car may become a new rear fender for that truck.
A lot of studies have been done on this specific topic. Here is a link which summarizes them into nice brief statistics: http://www.nationwide.com/newsroom/dwd-facts-figures.jsp
How to Stop
The problem with texting, unlike cigarettes or alcohol, is that they are accessible to almost anyone, easy to use, and it makes it much simpler to contact people. This ease of use causes people to use free time to text, which proceeds to using their phone during times in which they should not text.
Stopping isn't as easy as as pulling the battery out of your phone. Cell phones are important if you have an emergency or need to talk to someone, which means that you need to have it. In my opinion, if you have an unlimited texting plan, then you may want to downgrade, which will stop you from going over your limit (unless you want to be charged a ridiculous amount), and save you money in the long run. If you have a teen you care about, you may want to talk to them about it, and find something to do with them. A hobby that they enjoy will distract them from their phone, and also give them something productive to do. It may also improve your relationship with them as well.
Sometimes, A Waste of Time.
Quite honestly, even if you don't get headaches, have a second pair of eyes on the road, and have enough energy to work through the day, texting is a huge waste of time. Unless it is important business, or are communicating for reasonable purposes, there isn't any reason to do it. I find that the best conversations are the ones you have face to face with people, and it would be better to text someone that you would like to speak to them directly than talk to them through your phone.
Texting isn't the only thing out there that is addictive. For other different addictions, take a look at the links below.
Did I miss something? Or get something wrong? If you have any comments, please post them below so I can get feedback. Thank you for reading, and have a nice day!
For More On Addictions
- Computers Can Be Addictive As Well.
A rather short summary of what a computer addiction is. It is also debated as to whether it is an addiction.
- New Study Suggests That Teens...
The cellphone -- that be-all of teen life -- is ever more indispensable to the youngest generation, embraced not just for calling friends and sending a barrage of text messages but also...
- Energy Drinks: Could You Be Addicted?
Energy Drinks exploded onto the scene a couple years back with hundreds of different flavors and types. Now, scientists are debating the risks that come with drinking them"
The bottom line is that parents need to stop just giving their kids things in replacement for attention. And parents need to stop thinking that just because a kid asks for anything that they need it. Remember: What is popular isn't always right. And what is right, isn't always popular.
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