Jennie Carroll, a technology researcher from RMIT University in Melbourne, has been studying the effects of modern communication for nine years. As mobile phones are such an integral part of teenagers’ lives, she has recently identified four risks that youngsters face from excessive texting:
Textaphrenia: Hearing texts or feeling their mobile vibrate when it actually has not. Constantly checking mobile to see if a message has arrived.
Textiety: Anxiety teens feel when they have not received a text or are unable to send texts. They feel as if they have no friends and will also over-analyze why people do not respond to their messages.
Post-Traumatic Text Disorder: Physical and mental injuries sustained while texting (e.g. walking into a pole while texting) and feelings of depression when no one texts them.
Binge texting: Sending lots of individual texts or group texts to get as many responses as possible so they can feel like part of a group.
The Daily Telegraph reports how Australian teenagers are becoming “text addicts” with symptoms such as mental disorders such as anxiety, insecurity, depression, and low self-esteem in addition to physical ones like “repetitive thumb syndrome”.
Two textaholic teens interviewed by The Daily Telegraph provide corroborating anecdotes of this teenage addiction by informing the Australian paper that they send about 50 to 120 text messages every day since, they explain, kids of their generation hardly call people anymore, preferring to rely on texting instead.
An Australian mobile network’s statistics confirm the prevalence of text messaging, which has increased 89% over the last two years. One teenage customer was even reported to have sent an astounding 4,000 text messages over a period of nine days, which must surely lead to some serious repetitive thumb syndrome.