Do you have a cellphone? Do you use it to text people? If you answered yes, the New York Times has news for you: You're losing sleep, rotting your brain and getting stress fractures on your thumbs.
The phenomenon [...that's texting] is beginning to worry physicians and psychologists, who say it is leading to anxiety, distraction in school, falling grades, repetitive stress injury and sleep deprivation.
The Times wrings its hands dry for a few paragraphs before dropping this caveat: "The rise in texting is too recent to have produced any conclusive data on health effects." Well, Well! In other words, there is no evidence to support any of this. But fortunately for the author, there is conjecture from psychologists who would like to be quoted in a promiscuously factual New York Times trend piece.
Here's Sherry Turkle, an MIT psychologist, on why putting her phone on vibrate detroys her sense of calm: "If something next to you is vibrating every couple of minutes, it makes it very difficult to be in that state of [of peace and quiet] ... So if you're in the middle of a thought, forget it."
Paging Dr. Turkle: The mute key. It exists. As a cell phone user who keeps his phone on vibrate and does not suffer from accompanying short-term memory loss, I'm going to go ahead and call this article a classic case of psychological projection. For an unhysterical and actually quite brilliant rebuttal, here's New York's cover story "In Defense of Distraction." Read it. On your phone, if you have to. And don't forget to text your buddy when you're finished.
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