The dangers of texting are many. Except for instant communications ability of SMS, the benefits are sketchy. Texting is a useful tool when used properly. However, many young people misuse this ability, sometimes turning their cell phones into effective weapons.
These dangers while driving vehicles are becoming well-known to all. In many countries, governments have passed many texting prohibitions while driving, along with appropriate monetary penalties.
Dangers Of Texting: Texting While Driving
The focus on eliminating distracted driving caused by texting has become rather effective in, at least, minimizing the dangers of distracted driving. The federal government and most state governments have mounted heavy media campaigns, including radio, TV, online and print, to emphasize the dangers, new anti-texting laws and illustrate the police crackdown and the financial penalties.
The Federal Communications Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has published some disturbing texting while driving statistics. Among their published data, the following statistics are noteworthy.
- The cause of 18 percent of all fatal auto crashes, accounting for over 3,000 deaths, in 2010 was distracted driving.
- Many American teens (40 percent) state they have been auto passengers in cars whose drivers used their cell phones in ways that put passengers in danger.
- Virginia Tech Transportation Institute research indicates that text messaging increases accident risks by 23 times the odds when non-distracted driving.
- Around 11 percent of drivers age 18 to 20 involved in auto accidents admitted they were wither sending or receiving texts at the time of their crashes.
If this were the only danger of texting, we could hope that the apparent success of government awareness and anti-texting while driving programs would continue. Eliminating texting when behind the wheel would greatly reduce the percentage of auto accidents caused by distracted driving.
Unfortunately, just as there are multiple dangers involved with using—and misusing—social media websites, people, particularly teens and young persons, face multiple potential dangers while texting, too.
Dangers Of Texting: Bullying
Bullying, the most exaggerated and dangerous form of “teasing” has existed as long as there have been schools and classrooms. However, the global focus on this problem has served to inform and educate parents and children of the potential long-term negative effects on the lives of the victims.
Here is some valuable information from the National Bullying Prevention Center to consider to address bullying for what it is—a dangerous situation with multiple negative consequences possibly lasting a lifetime.
- Anyone can suffer bullying, not just the shy or quiet kids. In many cases, the toughest student in a class can be the target, often just for his or her toughness. Data indicates there is no single characteristic that identifies potential victims.
- Bullies come in all flavors. Girls, boys, elementary school students and preschool kids can all bully others. Sometimes even the bullies don’t know why they are behaving so badly or why they need such a level of control over another.
- No one, not even the worst kid, deserves to be bullied. All students have the right to feel safe and secure. Effective bullying takes that save haven right away.
- Bullies MAY be the guy in black with a self-esteem issue. However, it is just as likely it’s the 4’9” cheerleader or the shy honors class student. There is no dress code or appearance requirement. It’s all about behavior.
- Bystanders contribute to the intensity of bullying. Witnesses play a major role in accelerating or stopping bullying. Most are not being bullied, nor are they bullies themselves. They are merely spectators. Even if they just watch, saying and doing nothing more, this group is giving tacit approval to the bully—and rejecting the victim.
- The bullied can become the bully. There are times when a bully is consistent in his or her behavior, bullying everyone or the same kids on a daily basis. However, there are many other kids who might be victims one day and bully other kids the next. This is quite common.
Dangers Of Texting: Cyber Bullying
The rise of texting and the Internet has unfortunately generated a new term: cyber bullying. Many parents, aware of the problems of cyber bullying over the Internet, may be clueless about the about the dangers of texting that might generate the same results.
According to Bullying Statistics.org, texting as cyber bullying typically begins in Middle or Junior High School, when many young teens get their first cell phones. The statistics indicate that almost 9 of 10 teens have cell phones and around one in five will suffer text bullying.
Around 10 percent of these teens participate in text bullying, using it as a form of cyber bullying. Unfortunately, data indicate that text bullying has become more popular than classic bullying. The statistics display that this form of cyber bullying is particularly “attractive” to young girls more than boys.
Texting as cyber bullying includes several damaging “features” that make it more dangerous than traditional in-person bullying. These factors affect both bully and victim.
- It can continue 24/7, even when the bully and victim are at home. The victims’ homes, traditionally safe havens from bullying, no longer offer protection.
- Bullies, who are, by nature, cowards, are often even meaner than usual since they don’t need to face their victims.
- Even more frightening than traditional bullying, cyber and text bullying can be anonymous attacks, using another’s cell phone, scaring victims more than the face-to-face type.
- At times, the victims send even more threatening responses, turning them into bullies themselves.
Cyber bullying victims face multiple potential problems from text bullying, including the following negative conditions and events.
- Depression and/or anxiety symptoms;
- Socially withdrawing from other students;
- Victims who may be driven to commit violence themselves; and
- In extreme cases, suicide can sometimes result.
The bullies can also experience depression symptoms or legal charges from their text, cyber bullying. A common temptation for parents is taking away a victim’s cell phone, but teen victims may naturally feel they are being punished for things that are not their fault. It’s much more effective to explain why text bullying is wrong—and dangerous.
The dangers of texting can include more than temporary problems. Depending on the intensity of the bullying and the personality of victims, long-term psychological damage can result. These dangerous results are more damaging than the effects of good-natured teasing.
Cyber bullying, using texting is a growing problem that must be addressed. Schools and parents can work together to explain the dangers to both bullies and victims to stamp out cyber bullying in its computer and text forms. A unified effort is more effective than hit or miss attempts by one or the other. Schools and parents must employ long-term solutions to eliminate cyber bullying as an epidemic.