Does texting make you shallow? If you’re a frequent texter, are you also more likely to be a racist? Researchers at the University of Winnipeg just presented a study at the 2013 Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) meeting held in New Orleans that they said showed a link between heavy texting, racism, and being shallow.
According to their survey of 2,300 students that they followed for three years, “Those who texted more than 100 times a day were 30 per cent less likely to feel strongly that leading an ethical, principled life was important to them, in comparison to those who texted 50 times or less a day. Higher texting frequency was also consistently associated with higher levels of ethnic prejudice.”
One of the researchers, psychologist Paul Trapnell, said that they wanted to test a 2010 theory which suggested that what they called “ultra-brief” social media like text messages and Twitter would encourage people to become more shallow. They said that they proved that the very frequent use of that kind of media is definitely linked to being shallow and unreflective.
Maybe, but it isn’t entirely clear to this observer that the texting is to blame for the shallowness. It seems to me that the people who are drawn to leaving many brief text messages like OMG and CU — which rapidly add up to the supposedly frequent 100-plus messages a day — are drawn to that medium precisely because they’re already shallow.
Sometimes you just want to leave a quick OMG without getting involved in a deeply engaging warm and personal telephone discussion that lasts 30 minutes, right?
If you’re a frequent texter, you can’t catch a break. It’s bad enough that you’re widely viewed as an accident waiting to happen.
The parents of a 22-year-old college student recently released the last text message being written by their son (who was driving at the time) before he crashed and was killed on Apr. 3 near Greeley, CO. He died for a mundane scribble that his parents clearly didn’t think worth sending at the cost of his life:
“Sounds good my man, seeya soon, ill tw…”
While young people catch most of the flack for texting, I can assure you that middle-aged adults are also perfectly capable of texting and driving. I think that’s how I got rear-ended recently. The culprit sheepishly admitted to being distracted, and I’m reasonably sure he was conducting business on the phone when he slammed me.
A study published in late March said that almost half of all adults text and drive, a stunning 49 percent, while teens were still guilty of a pretty amazing 43 percent.
Heck, some people apparently even fly and text. According to a National Transportation Safety Board report, a 2011 helicopter crash that killed five people was caused at least in part because the overworked and distracted 34-year-old pilot was too busy exchanging 20 personal text messages to keep his eyes on the skies.
Now, with the new report that heavy texting is linked to being shallow, the highly addictive activity is once again more-or-less accused of being something for the Darwin Award winners.
Will the thought of being perceived as shallow stop you from texting? Me neither. I’ll try to avoid texting while piloting helicopters and driving motor vehicles, but there’s a limit.
If texting makes me shallow, I don’t wanna be deep.