Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Text Messaging…Has it Become an Addiction?

Many within the field of psychology believe so and it is an addiction that can greatly affect the productivity of the addicted while also being potentially life threatening. The population that seems to be most impacted by this is our young people. Statistical data has revealed that daily text messaging among American teens has shot up in the past 18 months, from 38% of teen’s texting friends daily in February of 2008 to 54% of teens texting daily in September 2009. And it's not just frequency – teens are sending enormous quantities of text messages a day. Half of teens send 50 or more text messages a day, or 1,500 texts a month, and one in three send more than 100 texts a day, or more than 3,000 texts a month. Older teen girls ages 14-17 lead the charge on text messaging, averaging 100 messages a day for the entire cohort. The youngest teen boys are the most resistant to texting – averaging 20 messages per day (Lenhart & Purcell, 2010).

These statistics are astounding, but are not limited to the United States. In the United Kingdom the same trends are emerging at alarming rates, so much so that Dr. David Collins, head of the Priory in London has dedicated a section on his clinics website solely to technology addictions. So why is this happening? Why are our young people becoming victims to the addictive nature of text messaging (and the virtual world in general)? Dr. Collins suggests the reasons stem from emotional difficulties, depression, stress and anxiety; and according to Dr. Landry, like with every other addiction this addiction is created in the brain when a certain activity or product stimulates the release of the hormone dopamine, which then creates a pleasurable chemical rush through the body.

There are no cures for this phenomenon, but Landry proposes in the case of text messaging addiction cognitive therapy would be the best option, and perhaps this is true for some cases, however, I believe that the parents of these younger individuals have the greatest power in the sense that they can give these teens cell phones without a text option…what a novel idea, aye? In denying the temptation you force your child to actually verbalize and communicate with the world (at least in one area). In doing so these parents have the opportunity to maybe break such isolating cycles and in regards to teen drivers they just might be protecting/saving the life of the innocent bystander who comes in contact with their children. Nearly 50 percent of teens admit to text messaging while driving -- an unnerving statistic that now rivals driving and drinking in terms of danger and prevalence. I don’t know what you think, but for me the choice is a relatively easy one.

5 comments:

  1. i agree with this post and everything stated was very informative. i have read many articles about text messaging. i personally think text messaging will be the death of communication. people will be less sociable and technology will run everything we do.

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  2. I totally agree that text messaging has gotten way out of hand. I mean, I am definitely one who text messages, but I also know how to pick up the phone to talk to someone, not carry an hour long conversation through messaging. How annoying! I have seen first hand a 12 year old who sitting at the dinner table, cell phone in lap and continuing to go off, while eating dinner with her family. Not only is it rude, but someone should teach them that there isn't anything that is THAT important that couldn't wait at least 10 minutes. It's totally different today from when I was growing up. We went outside and played every day after school not these kids today. There is no reason that a CHILD should have a cell phone. I'm sorry but it's true.

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  3. This is very interesting, but anything could turn into an addiction. Can it not? I think professionals are just trying to cope with new phenomenon and are constantly adding new types of addictions. Some people may just have an addictive personality and could be addicted to anything. I do not think that becoming addicted to text messaging is a new phenomen, the addiction phenomenon has just been able to evolve with the evolution of the world's new technology.

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  4. I really liked your post. It was so interesting for someone to actually bring up the fact that texting could very well be an addiction. I see people at the movies, out to dinner, sometimes even on dates texting! I think it is out of hand and is an addiction. Who knows what they are talking about, why do children need cell phones with text capabilities anyway? I understand the need for today's society to be up with speed and cell phones are an easy way to do that, but why do they get phones for kids with texting capabilities anyway? Worlds going crazy.

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  5. I don't understand texting, especially while driving or when in a conversation with someone. I believe it also disconnects people more than it connects them. In many cases I believe texting is just rude, and while driving just moronic.

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