Monday, October 18, 2010
I was watching 'The Hour' show on CBC, and there was a neat interview with Tom Greene, and he mentioned something that just sort of jumped at me ... really rare considering that it's Tom Greene. Anywhoo, there was a mention of texting, the texting that people do on their cell phones acting similar to what dopamine does to our brain ... in fact stimulating our pleasure senses.
Think about it, when we text, and we get a quick response on our cell phones, how do we feel? We feel elated, joyful, that someone responded to our message. If we don't get a response, there is a moment, no matter how brief, where we tend to feel sad or depressed that we weren't text-ed back. Maybe your like "Yea I know, so what??"
Consider that there are people, mostly young people that can text upwards of 1000-3000 texts a month. Simple messages. Even if like, 500 of those produce positive/negative responses to centers of our brain, does this constant 'Dopamine increase/decrease' make texting a drug? Just google 'Text addiction' and you'll find a plethora of studies that support the thought that it is.
If you think that texting can be addictive, just think about how texting can affect our ability to process pleasure and depression in the way that we communicate to other people, or how we seek positive reinforcement from our relationships.
Now I'm not saying that texting is bad, or that you should throw away your cellphones, but I do think that there are things that can get in the way of real relationships, and texting is no substitute for actual conversations. I also think that there is a warning about how relationships will change in the next 20 years.
Isn't weird that cellphones, initially made so that people can communicate with each other, may in the end be the end of real communication with each other?
If your a teen or parent, looking for ways to curb text-addiction, a growing problem in our society, click here for some ideas.