The rapid advances in communication technology has created a world in which people are brought closer together by the ease of interacting through mobile phones, the Internet and text messaging. According to a 2010 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, one in three teens send more than 100 text messages a day. This kind of heavy use of text messaging has created several negative effects.
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Writing and Grammar Skills In the Classroom
Text messaging has its own set of rules and its own language, often an abbreviated mishmash of English, symbols and visual cues. Because text messaging often bypasses traditional writing with proper noun and verb usage and rarely includes full sentences, it can erode writing and grammar skills. Some teachers are beginning to notice a decline in their students' ability to punctuate correctly. Because teenagers spend so much time text messaging, they may carry those habits into the classroom. In addition, children who are used to communicating via text messaging may experience a change in how they understand words on a page. They may become so used to using text-messaging lingo that, when they include these words or sentence fragments in a report they've written, they don't realise it, even as they're proofreading their work.
Text-message addiction may sound humorous and far-fetched, but, in a 2008 editorial, the American Psychiatric Association included text messaging as part of a disorder known as "Internet addiction." This disorder is characterised by excessive text messaging with a loss of sense of time or neglect of basic duties, withdrawal symptoms, such as tension and anger, when text messaging was not allowed, and negative repercussions, such as lying, arguments, social isolation and fatigue. Text-message users may develop the same kind of attachment to their phones that drug addicts have for their narcotics.
Most adolescents tend to develop in some similar ways, which includes breaking away from their parents' authority and learning how to make their own decisions. However, the ubiquity of text messaging may serve as an electronic umbilical cord as it makes consistent communication between teenagers and parents very easy. This can have the effect of preventing adolescents from developing confidence in their own decision-making, if their parent or authority figure is only a text message away from being barraged with requests for help or to solve their problems.
Spending time alone in thought is another key in an adolescent's development as it allows him to think about who he wants to be without outside interference. But text messaging intrudes on the solitude that teens need for that maturation process and could lead to feelings of being overwhelmed by the pressures of constant communication.
Prolonged use of text messaging has been linked to physical ailments in a user's thumb. According to Peter W. Johnson, associate professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at the University of Washington, repeated text messaging could cause temporary or permanent damage to the user's thumb. In addition, new studies by ergonomic researchers have shown that the position of the body when someone is text messaging puts pressure and strain on the neck and shoulders and causes pain and discomfort.
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- "The New York Times"; Encouraging the Text Generation To Rediscover Its Voice; Susan Dominus; April 26, 2010
- "The New York Times"; Texting May Be Taking a Toll; Katie Hafner; May 25, 2009
- Tech-Nation; Negative Effects of Texting In The Classroom; John Myhra
- "The American Journal of Psychiatry"; Issues For DSM-V: Internet Addiction; Jerald J. Block; March 2008
- "Psyche Central"; Physical Side Effects of Texting; John M. Grohol; November 2009