Written by Kristin Minshall.
Remember house phones? It is strange to think that landline telephones have become almost obsolete. Think back to the days where you had to pick up a phone, punch in the number manually, and wait for someone to answer. My generation grew up this way, but by the time we reached middle school, everything changed. Texting is the new norm. Now our thumbs do the talking.
Text messaging has completely altered the way people communicate. It is fast, easy, and convenient. Humans have a need for socialization. We crave interactions and relationships, and texting is a way to do just that. Or at least that is what we like to think, as many scientists and psychologists beg to differ. They believe that texting is not “healthy” socialization. Interactions with a person face-to-face are an important part of the relationship process and cannot be compensated by words on a screen… or can it?
Plain and simple, people are becoming addicted to text messaging. Jennie Carroll, a technology researcher from RMIT University in Melbourne, has pinpointed four very prominent psychological disorders due to excessive texting. Carroll says her study has shown a pattern of behavior that can be classified into four distinct disorders – textaphrenia, textiety, post-traumatic text disorder, and binge texting. Sounds crazy right? People who feel extremely jittery waiting for a text message and continually check their phone hoping for a response may suffer from textiety, the anxious feeling of not receiving or being able to send any texts. An attachment to our phones is now being labeled as a psychological disorder. Can this really be happening to us?
According to research done by the Hubpages, physical health problems may even be a result of too much time spent starring at that small, lit screen. Migraines, carpal tunnel in fingers, and even lack of sleep may be attributed to too much texting. Personally, I find these symptoms a bit over dramatic. If a person struggles with sleep because he or she is playing on their phone, a simple fix would be to plug in somewhere other than under his or her pillow. Though these symptoms seem trivial, I do see a bigger and far more threatening issue at hand: texting behind the wheel. This is where a constant need for texting can be labeled as an addiction.
Over the past few years, more and more studies reveal the staggering statistics of people, specifically teenagers, texting and driving. AT&T has devoted much time and research to this growing problem and has started a nationwide campaign, No Text On Board, hoping to make a change. TV commercials, billboards, documentaries, and even state-of-the-art virtual reality simulators can be found in locations near you.
AT&T markets the dangerous effects of texting behind the wheel, as more than 100,000crashes involve drivers who are texting and result in life changing injuries or deaths. 77 percent of people have seen their parents text and drive. 97 percent know that texting is dangerous, yet 43 percent admit to doing it anyway.
Because of this, we are 23 percent more likely to be in an accident. The hard part to wrap my head around is that we all know it is dangerous, yet many of us have done it anyway. Are Americans truly so addicted to our cell phones that we are willing to raise our odds of death or life spent in a wheel chair, all to type a couple words en route? Bottom line: we are idiots.
The “No Text on Board” campaign uses scare tactics in order to get across its point to viewers. Honestly, I believe that this is the only way to really make people stop and revaluate their decisions. After seeing these commercials and the heartbreaking stories of actual victims, I now think twice before texting and driving. The chances of this happening to you don’t seem so farfetched when you watch it firsthand.
I believe that Americans are truly struggling with a texting addiction. We may be able to laugh off theories of texting-induced migraines, but paralysis and brain damage from texting and driving cannot be ignored. In my opinion, AT&T has hit us straight in the gut with this new campaign. It’s exactly what we need to hear. After all, is a text message really worth dying for?
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