Text messaging makes children and journalists more impulsive

Posted by andreaitis on August 11, 2009

text girl

Image by uberculture via Flickr

Okay, I added the journalist part but according to a new study, the rest is true.   Using mobile phones can change how your brain works.   How many journalists do you know who do NOT use mobile phones?  You can see the logic already.

This new research is rising up from down under.  Researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia studied the mobile phone use of children between 11 and 14 and their ability to carry out a series of computer tests.   They found text messaging and predictive text messaging lead children to behave impulsively and make mistakes.

When researchers studied the way in which the children handled IQ-type tests they found that increased mobile phone use appears to change the way their brains work.

Prof Abramson, an epidemiologist at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, said: “The kids who used their phones a lot were faster on some of the tests, but were less accurate.

“We suspect that using mobile phones a lot, particularly tools like predictive texts for SMS, is training them to be fast but inaccurate.

via Mobile phone text messaging is making children more impulsive, claim researchers – Telegraph

Fast but inaccurate.  Hello, Alessandra Stanley?  To quote the New York Times’ Clark Hoyt quoting Alessandra Stanley in response to her very own Walter Cronkite Seven Errors Saga:

Stanley said she was writing another article on deadline at the same time and hurriedly produced the appraisal, sending it to her editor with the intention of fact-checking it later. She never did.

“This is my fault,” she said. “There are no excuses.”

In her haste, she said, she looked up the dates for two big stories that Cronkite covered — the assassination of Martin Luther King and the moment Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon — and copied them incorrectly. She wrote that Cronkite stormed the beaches on D-Day when he actually covered the invasion from a B-17 bomber. She never meant that literally, she said. “I didn’t reread it carefully enough to see people would think he was on the sands of Omaha Beach.”

The Public Editor – How Did This Happen? – Op-Ed –

Alessandra Stanley behaved impulsively and made mistakes.   I’m betting she not only uses a mobile phone, but has also done some text messaging.  I don’t know this for a fact, but you can see how the new study may explain recent journalistic errors.   Now she can change her response: It’s not my fault! There is an excuse!  We can put the blame right where it belongs: on technology and science.

This is your brain.   This is your brain on mobile phone.

I’d research all this a bit further but I’ve got to text, twitter and check Facebook right now.


5 Responses to “Text messaging makes children and journalists more impulsive”

  1. We’re doomed.

  2. andreaitis said

    Gotta go glass half full, DK. Now we have a built-in excuse for all of our mistakes AND scientific proof to give our kids when they ask why we won’t get them a mobile phone.

    We win.

  3. Caitlin Kelly said

    Read “Distracted” by Maggie Jackson. It’s a smart book about this issue.

    I hate cell phones and keep “losing” mine on purpose. Bad enough that we can sound off on-line as it is…

  4. iskid2astop said

    And this is the proof of the generation gap. My generation is going to see this kind of mistake as normal, something that everyone does once in a while. Not to generalize but “your” generation is still one that reads things twice, spell checks, and waits a second to make sure all the i’s are dotted. I’m not sure this is good, but the added speed that accompanies it isn’t bad.

  5. andreaitis said

    It’s a balance. Speed is good, but not at the expense of consistent mistakes or shallow comprehension. Sometimes it’s okay to pause and think for a bit. I hope “your” generation doesn’t forget that. ;-j

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