Opinion: Text a Little Less and Think a Little More Or Why Texting Might Be Bad For You

Posted in: Mobile & Wireless at 06/03/2012 17:02

If you've suspected lately that your family's mobile-phone bill is driven entirely by your 15-year- old, you are probably right. A recent Nielsen report shows that children aged 13 to 17 average an astonishing 3,417 text messages a month -- some 45 percent of all text messages. This breaks down to seven texts "every waking hour," or roughly one every 8 1/2 minutes.
Heavy texting has been linked to sleep deprivation among the young, evidently because they somehow feel compelled to respond, even in the middle of the night. Researchers have found correlations between texting and everything from illiteracy to overeating. A 2006 study by James E. Katz of Rutgers University, perhaps the leading academic expert on mobile-phone use, has found that young people have trouble giving up their phones, even for a short time. Most were unable to make it through a two-day experiment designed to discover what they would do without their phones.
The larger problem with texting involves neither the physical nor the mental health of our growing army of young texters. My worry is that the ubiquity of texting may accelerate the decline of what our struggling democracy most needs: independent thought. Indeed, as texting crowds out other activities, it must inevitably crowd out inactivity -- and there lies a danger. For inactivity and thinking are inextricably linked.

To read this Bloomberg report in full, see:

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