Text addiction?

When I was young, it was common to have ‘marble thumb’ , specially if you liked to play with the big ‘tom thumb’ marble. Most of my school mates developed marble thumb during the latter half of the school year, when ‘dibs’ started getting serious, and the cats eyes marble was becoming scarce.

Then, as we got older, we had the ‘hamstring’ phase. That was when your school bus didn’t get to your stop until 3.25pm, and Hogans Heroes started on the TV at 3.30pm. If you were not limbered up, you’d run the risk of pulling your hamstring as you ran home to see the start of the show.

Now, it seems, teenagers are battling SMS-related disorders caused by excessive messaging.

An Australian study by Boost Mobile found text messaging has increased by 89 per cent in the past two years, with academics identifying serious physical and mental disorders, resulting in teenagers becoming text addicts. Stop laughing. This is serious stuff.

Anxiety, insecurity, depression and low self-esteem have all been identified by researchers as symptoms common among teenagers who have to much time on their hands text addiction.

Jennie Carroll, a technology researcher from RMIT University in Melbourne, has been conducting a study of the effects of modern communication since 2001 and says that the mobile has become meshed into teenagers’ everyday lives. She said

Texting is quite tribal – it is just what teenagers do with phones

The study has shown a pattern of behaviour that can be classified into four distinct disorders – textaphrenia, textiety, post-traumatic text disorder and binge texting.

Teenager Katrine Holec and her friend Tegan Matthews, both 15, said they send more than 200 texts a day.

Ms Holec admitted she suffers from texiety – the anxious feeling of not receiving any texts or not being able to send any.

I get impatient when I have no reception and I can’t send a message, it’s so annoying. And when someone doesn’t reply within seven to 10 minutes, that’s frustrating.

Not surprisingly, Boost Mobile has now introduced a new plan offering 1¢ text messages to any mobile network. I have a question: Isn’t this making the problem worse?

Chief executive Paul O’Neile insists that the company is not contributing to the problem. He says

When you’ve got teenagers using upwards of 400 texts a day, the behaviour is there already and it’s a matter of trying to contain the cost for their parents these kids

Ms Carroll said parents can also play a role in keeping their children’s text messaging under control.

I’ve always limited my children’s time on the internet and banned mobile phones from family meetings and family meals, it’s all about etiquette

[Courier Mail]

One Comment
  • Help Text Addiction
    12 February 2011 at 1:53 am
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