Friday, October 24, 2008

Dr. Mercola Weighs the Pros and Cons of Texting

We live in a fast-changing world. And in this fast world, Americans are the frontrunners. Fast food and high tech gadgets are not just part of daily life; they have become a way of life. And when we talk about gadgets, one of the must haves is the cellular phone.

Cellular or mobile phones have changed the way people communicate. The advent of text messaging further emphasizes that shift. The popularity of texting has soared because it is cheap, fast and convenient. In the last quarter of 2007, American cell phone subscribers sent more text messages than used their phones for calls for the first time in history. Since then, the average subscriber’s volume of text messages has increased by 64 percent, while the average number of calls has decreased.

Texting has caught the fancy of teenagers, with those aged 13 to 17 sending or receiving 1,742 messages per month while 18-to-24-year-olds average 790 messages. A study conducted by Harris Interactive found that 42 percent of teenagers claim they can write text messages even while blindfolded.

Dr. Joseph Mercola has been educating people on the dangers of cell phones for nearly a decade now. For Dr. Mercola, the one major health benefit that you can get from texting is that it keeps your cell phone away from your head and may lower some of the health risks associated with cell phone use.

However, holding your phone near your waist instead of near your head will just move the risks to a different area of your body.

Text messaging has already been proven to cause harm on the road. According to a Nationwide Insurance study, almost 20 percent of drivers send and receive text messages while driving, including 66 percent of teenagers between ages 18 to 24. Because texting-related traffic accidents are on the rise, the states of Washington, California and New Jersey have already banned texting while driving and 16 others are expected to follow suit.

Is Texting “Dumbing Down” America?

Aside from the practical dangers, too much texting may destroy the next generation's ability to communicate effectively due to poor spelling and “text-speak.” Because texting is so convenient, communication may become more impersonal, leading to fewer face-to-face meetings and less time spent actually talking.

Linguists warn that text messages will cause sloppy writing habits among young people because of all the shortcuts they use, which may affect their ability to spell and write.

Ireland’s Education Department reviewed high school students’ English test results and reported that “text messaging, with its use of phonetic spelling and little or no punctuation, seems to pose a threat to traditional conventions in writing."

But also, a report in American Speech concluded that texting will not ruin the English language because it represents "an expansive new linguistic renaissance,” and reflects “the same dynamic, ongoing processes of linguistic change that are currently under way in contemporary varieties of English.”

Dr. Mercola believes that texting and the dangers of cell phone use will undoubtedly remain hot research topics in the years to come. Stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of medicine. Subscribing to the Natural Health Newsletter for free now!

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