The fourth quarter of 2007 marks the first time ever that American cell phone subscribers sent text messages more than they phoned! The volume of text messages has increased by 64 % since then, while the average number of calls has dropped slightly.
Phone companies have enticed users to text more by offering unlimited text messaging bundles. And teenagers are biting the offer the most, evolving into the most prolific texters. The most prolific being teenagers ages 13 to 17 sending or receiving 1,742 messages a month, with 18 to 24 year olds averaging a mere 790 messages.
Text messaging has become such an ingrained means of communication that Harris Interactive reported that 42 % of teenagers declare that they can text even with their eyes closed. Dr. Mercola observes that teenagers’ preference for texting has more to do with convenience than safety. And those without 24/7 access to the internet, text more than those who do.
According to Dr. Mercola texting may lessen the health risks associated with cell phone use by keeping your cell phone away from your head. However you may just be moving the health risks from your head to your waist if you keep your cell phone close to that area.
Texting however allows you get straight to the point by bypassing common pleasantries that govern human relations and allows the use of an abbreviated language that doesn’t bother with spelling, punctuation and grammar.
And this is where the debate starts.
There is rising concern among linguists that the short cuts used in text messaging and email will result in sloppy writing habits among young people, and consequently impact their ability to spell and write. Email has already had a big influence on our writing and consequently increased our tolerance for misspelled words and less than perfect punctuation.
As texting continues to grow in popularity, the impact on society could be detrimental. For instance, a report by Ireland’s Education Department that reviewed high school students’ English test results showed that "Text messaging, with its use of phonetic spelling and little or no punctuation, seems to pose a threat to traditional conventions in writing"
A report in American Speech however concluded that texting embodies "an expansive new linguistic renaissance,” and exhibits “the same dynamic, ongoing processes of linguistic change that are currently under way in contemporary varieties of English.”
Dr. Mercola concludes however that “This will undoubtedly remain a hot research topic in the years to come, but I suspect that an over-reliance on texting will have disastrous consequences for future generations”