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Moderation needed when texting

November 21, 2010
By CATHY BROWNFIELD, Family Recovery Center

Most of us enjoy the convenience of handheld, carry-them-anywhere, wireless phones/smart phones. We are available at all times-except when we choose to shut off or ignore our cell phones.

"You don't talk on the phone anymore," said a harried husband. "All you want to do is text message."

His wife ignored the remark. He didn't understand that texting provided her with the means to reach their children any time, anywhere, immediately, without attitudes flaring, without taking time for chit-chat when she had so many things to do in one day's time. She didn't forget things added to her daily to-do list because she could shoot off a text message when she thought of it. And if her elderly parents need her, she is available 24/7. In her multitask life, text messaging is a timesaver. (Multi-tasking is unhealthy for humans, however, actually cutting productivity up to 50 percent, according to published reports.)

A college student grumbled to her mother during a weekend visit home, "There's a girl who sits right beside me in a class. She texts the whole class time. That's all I can heartap, tap, tapI want to ask her why she's there if she's not learning anything. And I want to tell her to leave because there are others in the room who are there to learn something."

Although text messaging may be a convenience just like riding lawnmowers, washers and dryers and vacuum cleaners, there is a downside. As much as we love our conveniences because they are time-saving, several generations back the work was done by human hands and obesity wasn't the problem we have in the U.S. today. Muscles were used daily to get the work done. Text messaging may save time, but a Case Western Reserve University study links text messaging to other problem behaviors.

"the high school students who spent the most time texting or on social network sites (or both) are at risk for other behaviors such as smoking, depression, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse and absenteeism."

When this information was shared at the American Public Health Association conference held in Denver, it was advised that 4,000 Ohio high school students participated in the study. About 800 students sent at least 120 messages per day, and 400 were on social networks at least three hours a day. About 4 percent (160) did both, and were at greater risk of fighting, smoking, binge drinking, becoming cyber victims, thinking about suicide, missing school and dozing off in class.

It isn't necessarily the texting that causes the problems, but the technology adds stress to their lives as they struggle to fit into their social networks and the behaviors they think are popularlike drinking, smoking and having sex.

And the other thing about these kids who text message more and spend so much time at their social network is that they rated their parents as more permissive. Parents need to monitor and supervise their children's choices. Parents should set rules regarding texting and networking. While the child may be safe under your roof, who else is under your roof, invited in through the Internet?

If the issues in this article seem to be unrelated, taken in the proper context, they actually are all related. Conveniences can make our lives easier, but anything used to excess can cause harm at any age.

Family Recovery Center promotes the well-being of individuals, families and communities through it's education, prevention and treatment programs. For more information of help available, contact us at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or email,



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