Textually Transmitted Disease strikes ME: AMERICAN IN ARABIA's reality check on SM Addiction
Thanks to a school in Dubai, our suspicions have been confirmed and it is official—most young people are addicted to texting. In a crazy twist of logic, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more has made avid users in fact, anti-social in their behavior.
“A team lead by education professor Mohammed Alzyoud found that all 555 Abu Dhabi University students who took part in a new study showed signs of addiction to texting and mobile messaging”
100% of the randomly selected students tested positive for this textually transmitted disease. This no common head cold; we have a plague on and in our hands!
“A senior (Dubai) government addiction counselor (said) that both of the international psychology standards used in the UAE may soon officially recognize internet addiction as a legitimate psychological problem.”
Some doubters might not yet be convinced of this pixelated pestilence, “Oh what’s the harm in passing the time with a few tweets to my peeps?” If listening to yourself say that last sentence alone doesn’t make you want to seek help, look at the numbers from the study.
- 63% of the students check their phone every minute to see if anyone loves them. That’s over 1000 times a day! I don’t blink that many times!
- ¾’s of those tested openly admitted their grades are suffering because of this Blackberry plague.
And this pandemic is global. A town in New Jersey, USA has banned its cellular citizens from walking and texting at the same time. Apparently, one too many mobile-philes has stepped into oncoming traffic while checking to see if any of their 1500 ‘friends’ like their Facebook status.
According to the Yahoo article, “Two professors at Stony Brook University in New York conducted a study on walking and texting. They found texters are 60 percent more likely to veer off line than non-texters.”
Three out of five cellphone chatters couldn’t even pass a sobriety test? LMAO! And couple this Facebook fever with handling a car and you might as well classify it as drunk driving. All of us have seen that rocket scientist driving and texting at the same time. Alas, it seems the day has come where a thumbs up is more important than a heads up.
When I was young, my parents taught us to engage with humans by looking someone in the retina when we were in a conversation. Now, any actual chat with an infected phone-a-file is like hanging out with Rain Man—they’re glancing downwards every 15 seconds, muttering, ‘Yea, Uh- Huh, Uh- Huh, ‘ and randomly smirking because of some mildly creative text.
I know I sound old-fashioned and I’m quite aware of the unprecedented, amazing medium these ‘social’ networks provide for communication, but if one more person “LOL”s a “Like” on an update that only says “ :) ”, as a human race, we may all start growing tails and dragging our knuckles when we walk.
If you’re one of the afflicted, here’s a status update for you: “I am sick and find my identity only through the shallow, lifeless world of social media”. Put down the phone, slowly walk away and make eye contact with a living person.
There is a lesson to be learned for all of us, whatever our tendencies in terms of texting. Like any addiction, the Internet can become our god --- an idol to which we heed its every whim. Let make our default for communcation the practice of being in person with people and engaging. If we find ourselves Rain-Manning even when we’re around folks in the flesh, this should be a clue that it is time for a change. Finally, let’s make scheduled time in the day where we are in complete control and the phone, laptop, netbook, desktop, etc… is powered off.
Now, who is exhausted from my rant? Unfortunately, none of us has really offered any real answers or solutions to this very real problem. But if you’ll excuse me, it’s 4 minutes till Wapner . I gotta watch Wapner. Yea, Yea.
By Brett Weer
Am I alone in my disgust? Is there anything to do about this problem other than gripe and spit like an old man eating a rotten peach?
Please respond to this article. Do you see social media as a blessing or a curse? What do you do to prevent over indulging? How can we protect our children from becoming anti-social?