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Excessive Texting, Growing Health Risk

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Traffic accidents caused by texting while driving aren’t the not the only hazards of text messaging. 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.

Spurred by the unlimited texting plans offered by carriers like AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless, American teenagers sent and received an average of 2,372 text messages per month in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to the Nielsen Company — almost 90 messages a day, more than double the average of a year earlier.

Text messaging has shot up in popularity among teenagers.

All this thumb action can lead to a variety of problems, according to new health research. A few examples:

• Similar muscle problems that can arise due to repetitive typing on a keyboard. Texting could cause significant pain in the thumbs.

• Sleep problems. Many teenagers keep their phones on and near their beds at night. Constant texting can cause them to wake up frequently and never settle into a deep sleep.

• Inability to shut down outside communication. Texting puts people in instant contact, and there is an outward societal influence that makes everyone think they need to be accessible at all times. A text message warrants a response as soon as possible. Plus, teenagers often feel an inherent need to know what's going on with their friends and people they know; text messaging puts them in touch instantly with the latest happenings.

• Decreased attention span.

Text messages allow teenagers to communicate in places where cell phones are not allowed, primarily school. It's fairly easy to hide a cell phone and text, and texting teenagers aren't focusing on the lesson at hand.

This expansion of technology also has made it more difficult to escape; the sender of a text message has come to expect a response within minutes.

What could one possibly be doing that would render them unable to type a quick note into a cell phone?

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0 # Guest 2011-03-03 00:09
Pleasantly please to see you in the on-line newspaper. Enjoyed reading the article.

I'm researching publications in the area to promote the conference.

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