How Much is Too Much Texting?
Text messaging has become an unstoppable phenomenon but how much is too much texting? As a media sociologist and grandmother, I am fascinated with it. What’s so important that one needs to be available and in touch at all times?
If you’re a grandparent like me, you cherish every conversational-minute you get to be with your grandchildren, your family and your friends. Unfortunately, texting and tweeting has become an annoying eater of my conversational moments with others.
I find it plain rude when we finally get one-on-one time with our busy children and grandchildren, and they are carrying on a conversation by texting, ignoring me completely.
According to a CBS report from Philadelphia, “Teenagers are becoming addicted to texting, according to a new study. In fact experts are saying being hooked on texting can be like being addicted to drugs.”
Regardless of where they are, teenagers seem to need to text. Statistics show 80% of all high school students own a cell phone. And the rate of texting has sky rocketed 600 percent in three years. The average teen sends 3,000 texts a month.
One student even admitted it: “I think that it’s just like a drug, once you get hooked on to it, you can’t let go. It’s like whenever I open my eyes the first thing I look at is my phone.”
Like food, technology is a crucial part of our daily lives. It can be great for emergencies and some occupations to stay in touch but it is important to evaluate how often and to what extent you use these technologies.
Most of us have found texting and tweeting while walking is stupid. As a matter of fact, not long ago on the television, the general public laughed at a young woman who was walking a mall, one Reebok in front of the other, so involved in her texting that she tumbled into a water pool display. The outcome? She wanted to sue the Mall! Now, that is denial and deep addiction.
We all agree freedom to communicate is a precious commodity not everyone in the world enjoys. Many fellow Iranian Tweeters have their bios, and messages, blacked out by the Iranian government. How lucky are we with the freedom to communicate with who we choose, where we choose and when we choose.
Most of us engage with technology in a healthy manner. But once that interaction creates negative consequences in multiple parts of a person’s life, we have a co- dependence problem. Anything that is injurious to us or illegal is a stupid preoccupation, say the experts.
Below are five ways to build a healthier relationship with technology:
• When face-to-face with family, friends and loved ones, turn off phone
• Turn off the phone and television at the dinner table,
• Make dinner a special occasion always
• Turn off phones once or twice a day and go for a walk, or play with your pets, pay attention to your loved ones, engage in meaningful moments with those around you, by giving them your primary attention
• Keep work at work! If you have to be on 24/7, have your phone alert you to new message rather than check your emails every 10 minutes or so yourself!
• Identify your weakness, and curb back, enjoy the moments in life
• Turn phone off at night, it is not a replacement Teddy Bear
If you text or tweet a lot, you might want to consider how to avoid repetitive strain injury (RSI) from sending too many text messages. You can now wear the thumb-wrist wrapping support accessories, and make yourself look like a tough-looking athlete:
• If texting starts to hurt. Stop. Use the other hand or call instead
• Vary the hand you use & Vary the digits you use
• Don’t text for more than a few minutes without a break
Researchers find that excessive texting and tweeting can cause changes in our dopamine levels. This is the part of the brain regulating rewards, punishments and euphoria, much the same as alcohol and drug use.
At American Family, you can crack the code for teen texting:
Text speech is designed to be quick and easy. Some common abbreviations — think OMG (oh my God) and LOL (laughing out loud) — are now part of our vernacular. But other codes, like PAW (parents are watching) and LMIRL (let’s meet in real life) are a way to KPC (keep parent clueless) — and add to texting’s appeal.
Check out more codes in the texting dictionary below:
LOL = Laughing Out Loud
TTYL = Talk to You Later
BRB = Be Right Back
OMG = Oh My Goodness
WTF = What The F***
B2W = Back to Work
L8R = Later
PIR = Parents In Room
OTB = Off to Bed
^5 = High Five
CU = See You
Even savvy families who pay a monthly fee for text messaging are finding that there are other features that can blow a monthly budget. When you get the phone, they don’t tell you that it’s extra for text messaging, but most do. If you don’t do your homework, and if you’re not a responsible parent, you’re going to fall into a trap.
Be forewarned, texting and tweeting are often, very similar to what you would see in a chemical addiction. More often than not, there’s something in a person’s life leading to this particular escape mechanism, like depression, social anxiety and/or dysfunction in the family; and, texting can become your Achilles’ heel.
Childhood obesity is rising as kids spend more with screens instead of outside playing. Other studies show a link between the rise in attention deficit disorder and increased technology use. Most of us agree there is nothing wrong with being connected; we who don’t text or tweet can even envy this networking ability.
But, it can be incredibly annoying when others use these devices every other minute. I imagine Texting and tweeting is kind of like fire. Fire can be a very useful thing or a very destructive thing; it depends on how you use it.
By Joyce White – www.wingedforhealing.com