Texting and public health

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The journal of record, Texting May Be Taking a Toll. WTF? I recall there were articles years ago about addiction to email, the web. Now also social networking sites. Is this just a general phenomenon that whenever new technologies appear that teens are enthusiastic about the media will play up fears of how it might be dangerous or deleterious? Do people remember stuff about how widespread usage of telephones were going to cause problems too?


  1. Dude, 
    I remember the waves of fear that were generated when Telex systems became available. Man, there were newspaper articles about how Telexing was going to destroy young people. 
    Of course, the granddaddy of them all was when telegrams were introduced.

  2. Y’know, this whole “writing” thing has totally ruined the human memory.  

  3. That is a silly article. They really seem to be stretching things.

  4. Do people remember stuff about how widespread usage of telephones were going to cause problems too? 
    The Amish still believe this. And from the standpoint of preserving their way of life, they’re probably right.

  5. Being glued to your cell phone and reading and firing off text messages isn’t the cause of any public health problem — it’s a symptom of a social disease, namely isolation. Bowling Alone isn’t just for old people. 
    If the average teenager actually had a life, they’d be conversing face-to-face with the group of people they were hanging out with, unless it was past their curfew or they were in math class.

  6. Does it get even stupider? A-yup — teenagers are now greeting each other with this puzzling, faddish gesture called a “hug”! 
    Seriously, they should fire all of these reporters who are trying to invent trends, and just pay Nick Wade or Carl Zimmer double their salary to cover science as well as society.