Texting: Quick Satisfaction Now, Enlarged Thumbs Later

Spotlight Article by Liza

Texting: Quick Satisfaction Now, Enlarged Thumbs Later

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30 years ago we got cell phones; 20 years ago texting became possible; and 10 years ago, texting skyrocketed.  Texting, it’s a seemingly simple act. Someone writes a message, and someone else answers that message.  But could excessive texting be causing problems both social and physical? Yes, it can; here’s why.

People crave attention. By sending hundreds of messages every day and receiving hundreds of messages every day; texting is providing a quick and easy way to get attention. Even if it’s not real attention. 49% of people report that they would rather send a text to someone than actually talk to that person. Crazy? According to statistics, most people will respond to a text in 90 seconds or less. So, when you’re having a conversation, and the person you’re conversing with gets a text, they will probably feel obligated to answer it in the next 90 seconds. It’s bad social skills and it’s annoying.

RMIT University in Melbourne Australia has identified three mental disorders related to texting.  There is a disorder called ‘binge texting’ where a person feels the need to send hundreds of text messages. It makes them feel good about themselves and attracts attention. Another disorder is ‘phantom blackberry vibration syndrome’ or ‘Textaphrania’ which is when someone thinks their phone is vibrating or ringing, even when it’s not. ‘Textiety’ is when a person feels anxious or insecure when they don’t receive texts. They might feel alone, out of contact, or like they have no friends.

It’s hard to have an actual conversation with someone who is trying to have a text conversation with someone else. For instance, if I happen to accidentally say something annoying (it happens…), the other person can just pull out their phone and pretend to ignore me. This, I might add, is even more annoying, and slightly offensive.

Not only does excessive texting cause psychological problems, but these psychological problems can cause physical problems.

Post Traumatic Text Disorder (PTTD) relates to injuries related to texting. Like if someone is so absorbed in their texting that they are completely oblivious to their surrounds and they walk into something, such as a light pole. Or they walk into someone else who is so wrapped up in their texting that they aren’t watching where they’re going.  According to the Consumer Project Safety Commission, more than 1,100 people ended up in the emergency room because of text-related injuries in 2011.

I am a teenage girl. I have been inside a high school. It’s a little bit scary actually. Once I saw someone collide head on with a locker because they were looking down at their phone. (Don’t worry, they were fine.)

Also, because of the position people text in (think- head down, shoulders hunched, and typing with their thumbs) there are now injuries caused by the physical act of texting. For instance, doctors are now diagnosing ‘texting thumb’ where the thumbs become sore and ache from the repetitive motion of texting. Neck pain is also common. Too much texting can also cause your thumbs to grow out of proportion to the rest of your hand. Lotion commercials are going to have a hard time when they can’t find any hand models. Good thing we have Photoshop…

This is a problem. Seriously. Are people losing their social skills and the ability to express themselves with emotion? Yes, texting might be easier than having an actual conversation. It might be more convenient, and maybe you don’t have to reply to your annoying cousin from Arkansas right away; but everybody needs social skills!

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