Experts agree text messages are bad for interaction and health.

By Jaime Ortega Simo.


Text messaging has become an essential part of one-way-communications, but according to some experts, text messaging may also have negative effects on users.

Simeon Yates a Professor of communication and technology of Sheffield Hallan University said, “I think the question needs to be – how are we changing the way we interact with each other and organize our social lives through the use of new media?”

For Yates everyone he is interviewed has previously used social media, to manage face-to-face interaction as people that use text messages are commonly shy and would rather text or write rather than talk.

“Yes, everyone we have interviewed has used texting, Facebook, twitter etc. to manage ‘face interactions’ – that is to deal with difficult and challenging social interaction,” Yates said.

However, for Yates text is nothing really new in the world of communications, “but another process of social interaction.”

“We did the same with the phone, or letters etc,” Yates said. “Managing face to face is a key part of all social interaction and texting is just another medium/option available to us.”

Lisa Merlo, Ph.D. in Psychiatry of University of Florida said people have become more dependent on technology and there is a tendency to focus less effort on in-person interactions.

For Merlo, some individuals ignore people that don’t answer calls or text messages, while others are avoiding intimate interactions, especially those that might be anxiety provoking and using text messages to convey information instead.

“This can create problems in relationships, as well functional activities of daily living,” Merlo said.

But Merlo, looks ahead and has high hopes that eventually people will start coming back to interacting the normal natural way.

“I am hopeful that eventually the pendulum will swing back the other direction, “Merlo said. “And people will rediscover the value of in-person interactions.”

Gary Small, a professor in psychiatry and director at the David Geffen School of University of California Los Angeles said text messaging is a dangerous way to pull away from face to face communication.

“People that over use text messages have a harder time communicating and talking,” Small said.

“They are students that can’t stop text messaging in class,” Small said. “Not even for five minutes.”

For Small, users are social animals and by enacting text messages to be part of our daily communication, it may tamper or affect their  creativity.

Small agreed with Merlo, that text messaging affects relationships, and recommends people to be moderated in its use.

“Its fine to text but only in moderation, don’t over do it,” Small said. “Don’t break up through text messaging, have the courage to have a conversation.”

But according to other experts, text messaging not only imposes an interactive risk for people, but also a health risk, according to Davis Kermit assistant professor on Environmental Health at University of Cincinnati.

“Anytime you have a concentrated activity over long periods of time, muscles and other soft tissues start to break down,” Kermit said. “In the case of texting, kids often times text continuously and for many hours.”

Kermit said, using phones in the small surface areas on keyboards requires fine movements by the fingers, if done excessively over time soft tissues breakdown and start becoming inflamed and as a result time pain starts in the hands, fingers and thumbs.

For Kermit, to avoid any health risk in excessive and continuous texting, the key is to take breaks, “The key is to take routine breaks, every 20 to 30 minutes.”

Kermit also said that very few students know about these risks, and warned students to take precautions.

“They are some students that will excessively text for long duration’s,” Kermit said. “These are the ones that would be at the highest risk.”

Alexa Gearangel a Third-year in Medical Laboratory Sciences at Ohio State University said, “Texting is convenient, but it certainly takes away from conversation with people.”

For Gearangel people are always texting while waiting in line in a shop, and she considers herself an average to lower user that doesn’t have a smart phone.

As far as relationships Gearangel said, “It is always better when someone breaks up using conversation and avoids text messaging.”

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