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Can Texting Hurt Your Brain?

Tuesday, 29 Jun 2010 02:08 PM


Question: My teenage daughter is constantly texting on her cell phone. Is this harming her brain?


Dr. Amen's Answer:
Cell phones, text messaging, and social networking are the latest must-have communication tools. What’s ironic is that these very communication devices may be causing communication breakdown as well as a host of brain-related problems.


Although texting is intended to promote social connections, it may be stunting real-life social skills and the ability to communicate face-to-face. Lack of social connections is bad for your brain and has been linked to an increased risk for illnesses and even premature death.


Psychologists are concerned that these new communication tools shorten attention spans and encourage instant gratification. Dozens of media stories have surfaced about teens and their texting habits. One Miami woman was stunned when she received a 440-page bill showing her 13-year-old daughter had sent 14,528 text messages in a single month! This kind of excessive texting has the psychiatric community worried.


In an editorial in the American Journal of Psychiatry, a doctor argued that Internet, e-mail, and texting addictions are real and that mental health professionals should treat them as such. If your daughter’s texting is out of control, set limits on when she is allowed to use her cell phone.





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