Texting: 15 Scholarly Facts That You Probably Didn’t Knoow

You probably already have a few pretty good ideas about text messaging.

For instance, you know walking while texting can be tricky, and you know texting in your college courses has a negative impact on your grades. You didn’t need a study to tell you so, but researchers went ahead and did them anyway. But not all the research done on the subject can be filed under “Obvious.”

Here are 15 scholarly facts about texting that you may not have suspected.

  1. Getting a text makes you happier: It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to learn that receiving a text message from a close friend makes you happier, but now we have the research to confirm it. Berkeley psychologists found even sending a text message makes people feel more connected and causes an upswing in mood.
  2. Hypertexters are less healthy: Texting may make you happier, but those who do it too much seem prone to unhealthy habits. Case Western Reserve School of Medicine concluded a study in 2010 that found “hypertexting” — sending more than 120 messages a day — can “have dangerous health effects on teenagers.” Hypertexters were found to be more likely to engage in harmful behaviors like binge drinking (43% more likely) and drug use (41% more likely).
  3. Texting behind the wheel is even riskier than we thought: Few things are as distracting to a motorist as trying to read or send a text message. Researchers at Texas A&M University’s Texas Transportation Institute now say, based on their study, that texting while driving double’s a driver’s reaction time. In the test, drivers using their phones were 11 times more likely to miss a flashing traffic light than focused drivers.
  4. Texting while driving killed 16,000 in a six-year period: Exactly measuring the number of traffic deaths caused by texting is impossible, but researchers from the University of North Texas Health Science Center have put the number at 16,000 between 2001 and 2007. Their findings were compiled based on information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and were published in the American Journal of Public Health. They estimated that in 2008 alone, 5,870 people died as a result of drivers distracted by texting.
  5. Texters use fewer abbreviations than we thought: Three universities are currently partnering to determine whether it’s true that cell phone communication is really ruining the way we write. The study began in December 2011, and head researcher Christian Guilbault of Simon Fraser University in British Columbia says the research has already revealed some interesting info. It turns out people don’t resort to shorthand as often as we might think. “See you” is used four times as often as “C U,” and of 12 variations of the word “OK,” “okay” is the most common.
  6. Black people send the most text messages: The Nielsen Company looked at monthly cell phone bills of 60,000 users in the U.S. and determined that African-Americans send more texts than Hispanics, whites, and Asian-Americans. The 790 text messages they send per month, on average, is more than twice the amount sent by Asian-Americans, who send an average of 384 per month.
  7. Texting helps HIV sufferers take their meds: A study that recently appeared in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that sending HIV patients weekly text messages to remind them to take medicine and to ask them how they are doing can help them stick to their antiretroviral therapy treatment plans. Researchers at UC-San Francisco’s Global Health Sciences recommend hospitals text patients on the treatment, which has tough side effects, but is also critical to survival.
  8. Texters don’t believe that’s a word: Blame it on autocorrect. A University of Calgary student did a study of texters and word usage, expecting to find that texting encouraged “unrestrained language.” Instead, the results showed people who text more are more likely to reject new words rather than accepting them as possible words. The people who were more open to a range of new words were readers of traditional media like magazines and books.
  9. Texting makes it easier to lie: The Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia recently published the results of their study that paired students playing roles of stockbroker and buyer, with the stockbroker needing to unload a stock that will soon lose 50% of its value. Deals done via texting were 31% more likely to involve lies than those by face-to-face talks. And buyers who were lied to via text proved to be much angrier than buyers lied to in person.
  10. Many people are addicted to texting: Researchers at the University of Maryland studied 200 students after 24 hours of no texting or other media. They found many of them were basically experiencing withdrawal, anxiety, and difficulty functioning. Dr. David Greenfield of the Center for Internet Behavior has compared constant texting and checking email to gambling addiction.
  11. Most people still prefer a phone call: Nearly three-fourths of American adults text. However, while 31% say they prefer to be contacted by text message, fully half of adults still prefer a good old phone call. The findings were the result of a study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, the first such time the group has polled Americans’ on their contact method of choice.
  12. Banning texting while driving is not the answer: At least one group of researchers is making a case against laws banning texting while driving. Researchers at the Swedish National Road and Transport Institute found that driver education is more effective than a ban, partly because people would disobey a law and partly because hands-free devices meant to replace texting as a safer alternative do not actually lower crash figures.
  13. Female teens text the most: Perhaps the only surprising thing here is that it’s older teenage girls, not pre-teen girls, who send the most texts of any group. Girls 14-17 send a median of 100 texts a day. Pew’s Internet and American Life Project also discovered that 87% of all teens in this age group have a cell phone, while only 57% of 12- and 13-year-olds have one.
  14. Texting has spawned its own injury: Texting is convenient, but it could also be a pain in the neck. Dr. Dean Fishman has trademarked the phrase “text neck” to describe an ailment he is seeing conflicting more and more patients. He even started the Text Neck Institute in Florida to treat pain in the neck, back, arms, and shoulders of frequent texters. “Forward head posture” pain, his original diagnosis, did not catch on.
  15. Predictive texting changes children’s brains: Using the built-in dictionary when texting on a cell phone makes children prone to making more mistakes. An epidemiologist from Monash University in Melbourne studied children ages 11-14 who sent 20 texts a week and found that the autocorrect technology makes children more impulsive and less accurate in their learning.

Source: Online College Courses

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Do Kids Need Cell Phones?

A debate that can depend on the child?

A debate that can depend on the age of the child?

A debate that can depend on the maturity of the child?

A debate that can depend on the family and their beliefs?

The debate regarding the necessity of mobile phones for children continues to rage on as kids demand cell phones at younger and younger ages. Many parents, however, believe that cell phones are a non-essential luxury that can be reserved until a certain age; others feel that in this day and age, mobiles are an important asset for everyone, children included.

In this article, we’ll look at 10 reasons why your kid can do without a mobile:

1. Children shouldn’t be any place where there isn’t responsible adult supervision – Any time children aren’t within the care of their parents there should always be someone old enough to watch the kids with them. There is no need for them to carry their own personal phones when they and their parents adhere to this simple common sense policy, which has worked for centuries.
2. What children actually use phones for varies greatly from why the phone was initially bought – Children are using these phones for everything but the emergencies that parents use as a rationale for equipping them with mobiles in the first place. Facebook won’t help in an emergency, and neither will Angry Birds. And who texts an emergency message anyway?
3. The phones being purchased for emergency situations are coming equipped with the latest technology – Most parents who argue that the phone is a safety measure for their child wind up spending a bundle on web access and texting service for their kids’ phones, both of which are totally unnecessary for their supposed purpose.
4. Cell phones are becoming less a help and more a hindrance – Kids spend time on their mobile phones that could and should be spent more productively. Given the state of education in this country, the time is past due to eliminate distractions rather than hand them out to our kids.
5. Cell phones open gateways to trouble – Most of the dangers to their kids that parents are dealing with are related to the fact that their kids are in constant contact via cell phones. Cyber-bullying, sexting and other such issues are far more likely to put your child at risk than not having a cell phone.
6. Having the world at your fingertips can be a dangerous distraction – Cell phone use could in fact put your child at risk to the sort of perils that parents envision when they buy the kids phones to begin with. Think about it: your child is too busy texting, surfing, or playing games that she becomes otherwise oblivious to her surroundings.
7. They cause a dependence on constant connection – It isn’t healthy for kids to remain so dependent on constant connectivity in order to function. Kids need to develop independence and the capacity for responsible decision-making without supervision.
8. They have a negative influence on productivity and learning – Kids are frequently using their cell phones, to their own detriment as well as others, at times and in places at which there is no need for them to have one, such as in school. Some schools, for this reason, have taken steps to ban them.
9. Cell phones encourage superficial relationships – Cell phone use inhibits social development. Kids become more reliant on their devices to communicate and spend less face time with friends and family as a result.
10. They make kids grow up too fast – Kids should be allowed to be kids. There will be plenty of years ahead when they will have jobs and responsibilities that might necessitate their having these electronic leashes. We should let them enjoy this time in their lives while they still can.

Source: Land Line Phone Service

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Distracted Driving and Teens: It’s Not Just Texting Anymore

What example are you setting for your teen driver?

When we talk about distracted driving many assume we are speaking of texting and driving, however it expands a lot further than that.

Now teens are actually updating their social networking sites and surfing the web while driving!

State Farm’s recent research shows that drivers are accessing mobile web services at much higher rates than just texting. These distracted driving behaviors may be more problematic than texting. In fact, the study showed that texting while driving was flat or decreasing in some instances. For drivers 18-29, 71 percent said they engaged in texting while driving in 2009. That number dropped to 64 percent in 2011.

For drivers 18-29:

  • Accessing the internet while on a cell phone while driving increased from 29 percent in 2009 to 43 percent in 2011.
  • Reading social media networks while driving increased from 21 percent in 2009 to 37 percent in 2011.
  • Updating social networks while driving increased from 20 percent in 2009 to 33 percent in 2011.

And this just isn’t young drivers! For all drivers, the data showed that accessing the internet while on a cell phone increased from 13 percent in 2009 to 18 percent in 2011.

Again, what example are you setting for your teen drivers?

Sources: State Farm Insurance, Safe Teen Driving Club

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Sexting: What parents need to know

Online safety of teens and kids of all ages is a priority as well as cell phone safety.  This brings us to a very hot topic which a guest writer has asked me to post his recent article to help parents understand how important it is to understand what sexting is and how they can take steps to help keep their children safe virtually.

Sexting has become a recent trend with mobile users, as nearly 40% of teens reporting sexting at least once or consistently. Sexting is when one person sends a nude, or sexually suggestive picture/text of themselves to another person or a group. The consequences of sexting range from nothing, to serious. For parents, the worries are real and dangerous.

Child Pornography

The primary concern for parents is sexting that involves suggestive photos, especially nudes. Several teens have been charged with ownership of child pornography. That’s because even if two students under age 18 are dating, possession of nude photos of individuals under the age of 18 constitutes child pornography. In some cases, teens who have snapped pictures of themselves have been charged with “manufacturing, disseminating or possessing child pornography.” Those receiving the pictures have faced, and been sentenced, to charges of possession. Convictions lead to life-long registration on sexual offender lists.

Digital World

Once the pictures have been taken, parents have more issues to worry about, namely digital records. After pictures have been taken digitally, they immediately enter a digital world where they can become permanent. One person can send the picture to another and so on until it’s been shared across the digital world. It can all start with one phone. With chat rooms and other websites, it’s easy for pedophiles and other predators to misrepresent age, sex, and location. Teens and kids are constantly connected to the web. Not only can those pictures make their way to illegal websites, they can also make their way to strangers.

Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and other social media sites are like online directories for everyone and anyone. It can be easy anyone to assume a false identity. With a couple clicks on the phone, a picture gets into the hands of the wrong person.

Psychological Factors

There are many reasons why teens take part in sexting and most of them are a new take on the old world of flirting and courting. Many teens send the texts as flirtatious messages, to boost popularity, or because of peer pressure. They can also include forms of sexual harassment, or bullying.

The ramifications for of this are undocumented in terms of sexting, but the potential psychological issues of self-esteem are wide and concerning. Adolescents and teens are entering a stage of life where body-image and self-esteem are developing. Bullying, harassment, and derogatory comments can degrade and damage morale. The effects of this can last for years or decades.

By sexting, teens put their bodies out there to be judged and critiqued. While their bodies may be healthy, teens use any chances to tease or insult another, especially if it means a chance to elevate themselves in a social clique, or in popularity. The self-esteem issues created by pictures, or suggestive language, being misconstrued, getting into unwanted hands or from unwarranted comments, can devastate teens and lead to suicide.

Cautionary Steps

Beyond eliminating and forbidding the use of all digital devices, there are other measures that parents can take to protect their teens.

The first is establishing a good relationship. Studies consistently show that parents who foster good relationships with their children have more influence on them than the media or peer pressure.

A strong relationship makes it easier for parents to approach kids about sexting and its consequences. Being honest with children about the potential legal consequences, psychological factors, and personal ethics and morals behind sexting is a good way to help them understand its seriousness.

To instill that seriousness, parents should monitor their child’s activities and friends. Much of sexting in teenagers is caused by peer pressure or social interactions. Supporting them in making the right decisions, and spending less time from those who are sexting, may be the best way to keep them safe.

Special contributor:  Steven Farrell is the administrator of ReversePhoneLookup.org, the best reverse phone directory online.

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Teens and Cell Phones: Should Your Teen Have a Cell Phone?

Is your teen ready for a cell phone?

This is a question many parents face as more and more tweens and teens are getting cell phones.

Is your teen ready for this responsibility?

Different families have come to different conclusions on this issue. In some families, every member of the family has their own cellphone, even kids that are not yet in their teen years. In other families, parents do feel it is necessary for their teenagers to own a cellphone.

Here are ten of the reasons parents have given for allowing their teens to have their own cellphones.

  1. Emergencies – This is the biggest one, especially after a teen begins driving. They want their teens to have access to a phone if they should need it an emergency, such as an accident.
  2. No excuses – Another reason is to eliminate the excuse for not calling home when they are going to be late or to ask permission about something. If they have a cellphone, they can’t use either of these excuses.
  3. Busy schedules – Families have such busy schedules these days that it can be difficult to keep everything straight. It becomes a convenience issue for the parents. If the kids have cellphones, the parents can call to let them know if they are running late or if there’s been a change of plans, and vice versa.
  4. Responsibility – Many parents use the cellphone as a tool for teaching personal responsibility. Kids are responsible for taking care of their phone and not losing or damaging it. They may also be given a limited number of minutes or text messages that they can use during the month and have to pay for overages themselves.
  5. Texting – Much of today’s teenage communication goes on via text messaging rather than voice. A standard land line phone doesn’t have that option.
  6. Phone conflict – If kids don’t have their own cellphones, then they are bound to be asking to borrow their parents on a regular basis. This can become an issue with teenagers who can often spend hours on the phone.
  7. Babysitting – Teens who babysit sometimes will be in homes that no longer have a land line available for them to use while they are caring for the children. By having their own cellphone, they can call for help in an emergency and stay in contact with parents if necessary.
  8. Privacy – The parents privacy, not theirs. If adults are sharing their cellphones with the kids, it eliminates their own privacy. Text messages they’ve received can be accessed by their kids, which is not always something a parent would want to happen.
  9. Parental connection – Many kids have two homes to travel between after their parents divorce. Parents sometimes will provide their kids with a cellphone for their times when they are staying with the ex-spouse, to be assured on continued contact.
  10. Savings – At times parents can find that giving their children their own cellphones is a cheaper alternative than simply sharing their phones with them. Check out special family plans to see what is available on your network.

This is a very individual subject. What is right for one child, may not be right for another. Each family needs to way out their own decision on the matter.

We also want to point out that we did make an argument for teen not getting a cell phone that you might find interesting.

Source:  Phone Service

Sue Scheff: ICE is critical for your cell phones

It’s cold out, does your cell phone have ICE in it?

For your own safety and the safety of your children, be sure to place ICE on all your cell phones.

In case of emergency (ICE) has proven to help paramedics and others contact loved ones when a crisis happens.

A British paramedic came up with the idea of asking cell phone users to input an entry into their cellular phonebook called ICE for “in case of emergency.” Accompanying that acronym would be the name and phone numbers of the person who should be called if something has happened to the owner of the phone.

This idea soon spread to the United States.  In 2006 WebMD Health News recommended that people take a moment right now to put “ICE” by the names of the people you’d want called in case of emergency.

Are you a parent with a child that has a cell phone?  Does your parents have cell phones?  The elderly as well as your teens, especially those with new driving licenses, should immediately have ICE programmed into their phones.  As a responsible parent and adult, don’t forget to add your own ICE!

ICE is a few years old now, but there are still some people that are not aware of it.  A quick reminder or refresher can potentially save a lot of time in the mist of a crisis.  Remember to update your ICE number if someone has moved or changed numbers.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens as well as family and friends.

Read more on Examiner.

Sue Scheff: Texting, Sexting and Cell Phone Safety

Recently I was contacted by WebSafety to share some valuable and priceless information to help you keep your teens safe while driving.

WebSafety has developed a software that alerts parents before danger happens (if children are contacted by someone they don’t know [they say 700,000 predators are online everyday grooming kids, trying to find their next victims] and if your child receives ‘LMIRL’ = let’s meet in real life, you’ll get alerted in real time, if they’re being cyber bullied, stalked, or being asked to send nude pics [AKA ‘sexting’ which becomes child pornography once trafficked from friend to friend.]

With the news of the recent 13 year old suicide of Hope Witsell in Florida, which is releated to sexting and bullying, it is imperative parents keep 10 steps ahead of their kids and teens technically.

Zig Ziglar Agrees to Market Blindspot Alert`s Two Products, WebSafetyPC and CellSafety

DALLAS–(Business Wire)–Blindspot Alert, Inc. (the “Company”) (OTCBB:BSAL), a developer and marketer of software that makes cell phone usage and the Internet safer for families, today announced the association of Zig Ziglar and Ziglar, Inc. to support and promote the marketing of the Company`s two products: WebSafetyPC and CellSafety.

“My life and career have been spent in service to family values,” Zig Ziglar said from his home in Dallas, Texas, “and like many parents and grandparents, I’ve wondered how we can better protect our children from predator invasions over the Internet. Likewise, texting while driving has become a major risk for teenage drivers, increasing the likelihood of having an accident by as much as 23 times. When our family reviewed the WebSafetyPC and CellSafety products, we knew we wanted it; and we want everyone we care about to have it, too.”

President of Ziglar, Inc., Tom Ziglar says, “This really is a remarkable technology, and one that every family with a computer in their home or a person who drives while using a cell phone should have.”

The Company`s President Clifton Jolley says, “Having Zig as a proponent of the WebSafetyPC and CellSafety products is gratifying. Together we are committed to protecting children from Internet predators and from the risks associated with cell phones and driving. Like many of us, the Ziglar family has worried over the risks posed by these technologies; but until we developed the technology, Internet and cell phone usage has been a frustrating task for most parents. WebSafetyPC and CellSafety create a safety net to keep kids and adults from falling into bad habits such as texting while driving and from being contacted by cyberbullies and predators.

The Company`s two main products are:

CellSafety all but eliminates the risk of texting while driving by turning off
the texting feature at a predetermined speed. Parents also have the ability to
create “test-free zones,” such as schools, where cheating by texting is an
increasing problem. “Another great feature,” Tom Ziglar says, “is the FindMe
feature that lets me find my cell-phone-enabled children.”

WebSafetyPC provides many of the features available on CellSafety phones such as alerts for cyber bullying, sexting, and predator alerts. The president of Mothers Against Predators says of her experience, “The predator who attacked my daughter didn`t come in through a window…he came in through my computer.”

WebSafetyPC and CellSafety provide the following features as demonstrated by these two charts:

https://www.mywebsafety.com/Shared/WebSafetyProductComparisonv.1.4.pdf
https://www.mywebsafety.com/Shared/CellSafetyProductComparisonv.1.4.pdf

National Press:
http://www.mywebsafety.com/Site/video.asp?isv=3&Pin=48238&SN=ChildSafety

For more info, please see:
http://www.MyWebSafety.com/ChildSafety