Showing posts with label texting risks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label texting risks. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The 3 Evils of Texting

Caution: Indiscriminate texting can be Bad for Your Health

Texting  is convenient, and it’s becoming an increasingly popular way to communicate. But new research and statistics show that texting – sending or reading text messages on mobile devices – can be harmful to you and your family in several ways.  If you know someone (or if you are someone!) with a too-much-texting problem or a dangerous-use texting problem, share this article with them; you may save their life.

Texting risk #1 – Distracted driving

Whether or not we recognize it, texting involves a great deal of brain activity, making it difficult to safely multitask while texting.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA), texting is one of the leading crash-causing distractions, and 10 percent of all drivers under age 20 involved in deadly car crashes were distracted at the time of the crash.

Statistics show that engaging in “visual-manual subtasks” – texting for instance –creates a 300-percent increase in your risk of getting into a car crash.

So, make sure your kids know that traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens – it might sober them to the risks of distracted driving.

Texting risk #2 – Distracted walking

While you are less likely to harm others if you’re texting while walking (instead of while driving), the same distractive nature of texting can put you at great risk  if texting while walking.

According to research from, 40 percent of teens say they have been hit or nearly hit by a motor vehicle or bicycle while walking, and statistically one teen every hour is struck and either injured or killed  by a vehicle on the road, with many of these incidences involving electronic activities, such as texting and listening to music with earphones.

Pedestrian texting risks exist for adults too, but teens are less likely to be cognizant of the inherent risks, as you can see at just about any street intersection in the U.S. – yes, teens often text even while crossing the street, according Safe Kids Worldwide.

To get your teen in a dialogue with you about the dangers of texting while walking, broach the subject by showing them these humorous “Seeing Eye People” videos.  Then show them the risk statistics from this article.

Texting risk #3 – Distracted parenting

Before you come down too hard on your kids regarding risk #1 and #2, don't forget to look in the mirror.  A recent study showed that roughly 33 percent of parents were using their phones almost continuously during restaurant meals with their children.

The 2014 Boston-based study, Patterns of Mobile Device Use by Caregivers and Children During Meals in Fast Food Restaurants,  identified and measured parental mobile device distraction by anonymously observing caregivers dining with their young children in fast food restaurants (where 40 percent of American restaurant meals are eaten). What they observed is that mealtime – a historically common time of face-to-face parent-child time of interaction – is being invaded by mobile devices.
The researchers observed that one third of the parents used their mobile device almost continuously during the mealtime, and that interactive phone activities (texting or swiping) further blocked the parent-child disconnect.

Researchers also noted that, at the time parents were most distracted by texting, they were more likely to be verbally or even physically harsh in response to their children's efforts to get the parents' attention.

Much previous research also shows that a lack of eye contact harms that all-important child/parent psychological and emotional bonding.  Make sure you are not damaging that parent-child interaction (which is instrumental in a child's cognitive, emotional, and language development) by turning off your cell phone completely during meal times.

Solution – throw away your cell phone?

Given these three risks, should you stop texting altogether then?  Not necessarily. But, like many other things in life, applying both moderation and wisdom in the use and timing of texting is important.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer