How Does Text Messaging Affect Teens?

Ask The Doctor > Children's Health > How Does Text Messaging Affect Teens?

For many of us, texting has become a way of life; something that we do each and every day. However, texting can have a negative impact on people, especially children. Here, we’re going to talk about the negative impact of texting and how to lessen its affects on the lives of children.

Teens Texting and Driving

We all know texting and driving is dangerous. It can be even more so for a teenager. The reason simply being that they aren’t an experienced driver. Situations arise that will throw them off guard. A seasoned driver will be able to react accordingly. A distracted, inexperienced teen driver will not know how to handle the situation properly. Not only because of lack of driving skills, but also because of their delay in reaction time. Texting and driving is deadly for many teenagers. It’s the reason why there have been many public service announcements regarding this issue.

Text Messaging Hinders Your Posture and Health

Did you know that poor posture can lead to a whole host of health problems? The negative impact on your health from poor posture is staggering. It can lead to headache and jaw pain. It can even cause reduced lung function. Your stomach and intestines rely on peristaltic movements. These movements push food through your intestines. Peristaltic function can be affected by bad posture. Simply put, poor posture can even cause you digestive issues.

It’s also important to realize that most people text while sitting down. A sedentary lifestyle is said to be worse for your health than smoking as it can lead to obesity and ultimately, premature death. It’s a bad habit to get into as a child as it will only worse into adulthood. This is why it’s important to get a hold of this before you can’t.

Constant texting can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome: a pinches nerve in your wrist that causes numbness. Although this nerve damage can be reversed, it can be caused by over exertion of the wrist, which use to be commonly from excessive typing, and is now from texting.

The Pros and Cons of Text Messaging

Know that texting isn’t going anywhere. It is here to stay. Technology has made personal relationships easier and better, offering new great ways to communicate with others. You can now send a message to anyone around the world with just a few pushes of a button. This is why it is nearly impossible to eliminate texting from your lifestyle. Instead, you’re going to want to focus on healthy texting.

Texting should not be the only way you communicate with others. Like many other forms of technology, it has the ability to isolate you. This is harmful, especially for children. Children are suppose to be learning their role in society. It is difficult for them to function in the world if they lack social skills. Therefore, it’s vital that they have the ability to learn how to interact with others socially. Being too reliant on text messaging won’t allow their social skills to develop as it disregards face-to-face interaction with others.

Having Good Texting Habits

The best way to teach a child how to properly text is by being a good example to them. This is why you’re going to want to limit your texting. Make sure to teach your child that texting can wait. Not ever message has to be answered immediately, especially if you’re behind the wheel of a car or at work. You need to teach your child that there is a time and a place for texting.

Texting shouldn’t consume you. There are plenty of other responsibilities we have throughout the day and other technologies we can resort to to stay in touch with friends and family. Remember that texting is more of a leisure activity than a responsibility and it should always be handled as such.

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Dr. Jimmy Obaji M.D.

Dr. Jimmy Obaji completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Manitoba. He currently operates a walk-in-clinic in downtown Toronto.

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