Alternate Reality

Are Your Teens at Risk From Too Much Texting?

The author of a new study says obsessive texting is not only destroying the minds and morals of teenagers, it’s also costing their parents a fortune in data charges.

By (@tynanwrites)

November 26, 2009

The story you're about to read is not (entirely) true. It is, however, more accurate than most things on network television.

cell phone devil hell satan texting bad stuffAs the New York Times reports, texting is taking a toll on our nation’s teens. The number of SMS messages adolescents send has more than doubled in the space of a year, leading to a number of troubling trends. Per the Times:

The phenomenon is beginning to worry physicians and psychologists, who say it is leading to anxiety, distraction in school, falling grades, repetitive stress injury and sleep deprivation.

Is texting really a clear and present danger to our nation’s youth? We spoke with Dr. Sigmoid Collón, author of the best selling book, Old Technology Good, New Technology Bad, who recently completed a study on the effects of cell phone use among teenagers.

e: Is texting really on the rise?

Absolutely. Our studies show teenage girls spend an average of 3.7 hours a day texting. That’s more time than they spend eating, buying slutty outfits, or sighing over pictures of Zac Efron. Boys text slightly less obsessively, just over 2 hours a day on average. That’s more time than they spend playing sports, masturbating, or masturbating while playing sports. It’s a real problem.

e: What’s so bad about it?

Well, let’s talk about the physical damage first. Teens are at a much higher risk of falling into manholes and other physical dangers while texting. It takes a huge toll on their wrists, hands, and fingers. We’ve seen cases where teens have texted more than 8 hours continuously and their fingers actually dropped off in mid message. There’s been a huge spike in thumb replacement surgery among post adolescents over the last five years. Fortunately I’m a majority stakeholder in the world’s only manufacturer of artificial thumbs, so it’s been great for me.

e: So things like repetitive stress injury are big concerns?

Yes, but it’s hardly the only one. In teenagers who text obsessively – which is to say, all of them except the total losers whose parents won’t buy them a cell phone – we’ve seen higher incidents of anxiety, sleeplessness, insomnia, illiteracy, and halitosis. The list goes on and on.

e: Aren’t sleeplessness and insomnia the same thing?

You want to quibble over semantics or you want to save our nation’s children?

e: Sorry.

No problemo.

e: How big a problem is ‘sexting’?

Huge! You would not believe what these kids are taking pictures of and sending to each other (though I have an extensive collection on an encrypted thumb drive I keep inside the heel of my shoe, if you’re interested). Kids are literally having sex with their cell phones, which not only warps their emotional development but also voids their contracts. We’re just starting to see the first cases of CTDs – cellularly transmitted diseases. For the kids out there reading this, if you notice a burning sensation in the tips of your fingers or a scaly rash between your thumb and forefinger, please see a physician immediately.

e: Is this really a new problem? Haven’t we heard the same kinds of concerns about every new technology that comes along?

Yes, we have, and for good reason. As I noted in my earlier studies, Rotary Phones: Dial D for Disaster and The VCR: Timeshifting Toward Oblivion, every new technology lowers our IQs, shreds our moral fabric, and makes us more likely to sign up for multilevel marketing schemes. We’re all going to hell in a high-tech handbasket. And with any luck we’ll continue to do so, because it’s been great for my career.

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