by Mike Masnick

What Else Can We Blame On The Internet And Text Messaging?

from the blame,-blame,-blame dept

There's plenty of blame to go around, though, it's certainly not new. In the past, we've had stories on people blaming text messaging for the divorce rate in India and poor turnout at movies. It's not just text messaging, though. The internet has been similarly blamed for the increase in divorces in the US. Well, now we can add the UK to the list, as they're afraid that both the internet and text messaging are contributing to the divorce rate. Meanwhile, we learn from Textually that mobile phone use is being blamed for kids having sex at an earlier age in Norway (though, I'm pretty sure this is a repeat of a similar story a few months ago where mobile phones were also being blamed for youth violence in Japan). Speaking of Asia, it appears that Koreans are worried that kids are exhibiting signs of addiction to mobile phones -- such as being worried that they'll miss a message or feeling anxious when not around their phones. One person even claimed to feel "phantom rings" where she would think her phone was vibrating with a call or text message when it wasn't. Of course, it always pays to be a bit skeptical of stories about people being "addicted" to some kind of technology. Too often, those reports come out from individuals or organizations who just so happen to offer psychological services (for a fee, of course) to help solve this problem. While it's worth noting the overall impact of new technologies and how they changes society, it's a bit worrisome when the technologies themselves are being blamed for problems -- rather than recognizing it's the misuse of that technology that's the problem. While some of these can be solved as people learn proper usage, it also sounds like there's going to be quite a large market for technologies that lessen some of the downsides to misuse of communications technologies. For example, in the article on the "addiction" in Korea, Carlo Longino suggests better presence information ("I'm busy") tied to mobile phones could help the constant need to answer a phone or text message as soon as it comes in.

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