The 20th and 21st centuries have witnessed major breakthroughs particularly in the field of information, communication and technology. Along with this, ultra-modern gadgets and facilities have surfaced, with smart phones and wireless handheld personal organizers leading the pack. This breathtaking expansion of electronic gadgets have revolutionized not just industries, but also many facets of the human lifestyle.
The existence of these gadgets are welcomed by people all around the world - particularly the young and urban group - because they reflect the current urban lifestyle: fashionable, modern, and most importantly, mobile. People's mobility demands instant access to information and communication whenever they need it.
Text messages are sent from one handheld device to another regularly to keep businesses and social relationship going. Because of this, it is not unusual to see people who cannot seem to put their cell phones away. This, however has led to a compulsive behavior of e-mailing and text messaging.
Regarding the over usage of text messaging, Dr. Rebecca Block from the Oregon Health and Science University said that people can even lose track of time or neglect "basic drives" like eating or sleeping. In addition, relapse rates are high and some people may need psychoactive medications or hospitalization. Dr. Block also claims that online addiction or addiction to text messaging is merely a symptom of a larger issue, which is communication addiction.
There are so many cases where text messaging has led people to depression. In one such case, a bitter ex-girlfriend bombarded her former lover with 10,000 abusive phone and text messages in just 65 days - an average of one every eight minutes.
Experts list 4 keys to the disorder:
- Being the obvious, excessive use.
- Withdrawal, being angry or tensed when you cannot text.
- Tolerance, meaning more use and phones with better texting ability.
- Negative precisions, like arguments.
Effects of text messaging include academic and linguistic effects, traffic safety effects as well as health effects.
Academic And Linguistic Effects
Text messaging has had an impact on students’ academic performance by creating an easier way to cheat on exams. One report published in 2002 emphasized the use of text messaging language in the school assignment and the concern for the decline in the quality of the written communication. Prof. David Crystal in his famous book “-Txtng: the Gr8 Db8 –“ states that texting has had a bad impact, and it was merely another way to use language.
The negative effect on the language does not merely come from texting; there are other means of technology which directly and indirectly have bad impact on the language. This has been the case with language on the internet where the language used by young instant messagers are described as a 'new hieroglyphics'.
Traffic Safety Effects
One of the significant effects of text messaging is the danger posed in terms of traffic safety. About one quarter of vehicle crashes in the United States are estimated to result from the driver being inattentive or distracted. As more wireless communication, entertainment and driver assistance systems enter the vehicle market, the incidence of distraction-related crashes can be expected to escalate. The danger of texting while driving have been debated for some time and a growing body of research has generally found that texting while driving degrades driving performance and is very risky and dangerous.
Text messaging is more than a habit which can lead us to plenty of health problems. Text addiction is real and should be treated as a clinical addiction. This addiction needs some form of attention when it begins to cause distress in people's occupational functions, social setting and personal setting.