Killer Keypads

March 10, 2011
Behold: The BlackBerry (1) Thumb. No, it’s not a new model in the popular line of PDAs. It’s an ailment that could cause arthritis. According to Rebecca Dube from a 2008 issue of The Globe and Mail, its source is texting. There’s a whole line of ailments related to texting too. From crooked posture, to arthritis hands, texters find themselves with BlackBerry Backs, BlackBerry Necks, and BlackBerry Bellies.
Posture is not the only harm of texting. Most are aware of the laws against texting and driving, but what we’re not aware of is what lengths these teens will go to in order to tell Britney who kissed Duncan last night at the “Girl’s Choice Graduation Dance”. “..Instead of waiting until they are off the road to compose a message, people instead just lower their phones to avoid police scrutiny,” says Jaya Saxena, in a September 28, 2010, issue of Gothamist. “Unfortunately, their eyes tend to follow suit.” Next time they look up, it could be into a nurse’s eyes.
Texting problems don’t occur just in the car. I was reading an article in The Wall Street Journal dated July 25, 2008, that talked about how when Mike Munoz started texting on his cell phone during a wedding, when he ran smack into the bride! The problem is that not only Munoz, but MANY people have been bumping into streetlights and parked cars while texting. The article goes on to talk about Bryan Fuhr who ran into the street during a bout of texting while walking his dog. When a cyclist suddenly appears, Fuhr doesn’t notice. He breaks two toes, and his dog, Ezra, takes off down the street. Listen to what Mr. Fuhr said after his experience, “I would not say that I learned a lesson, no… I want to be in touch when I want to be in touch.” Lesson learned here, kiddos! It’s okay to text and run into the road as long as you’re figuring out what Dexter had to eat last night.
And what about the number of people addicted to their phones? Some even surf the web on their phones. Texting is bad, but now you’re watching YouTube (2) on the go. There’s a March 31, 2008 article in The Independent that mentions the stress Britons feel as their phone goes dead. “Being out of mobile-phone contact is as stressful as moving house or breaking up with a partner for nearly one in five phone users… Britons are in the grip of ‘nomo-phobia’,” says Katharine Barney. Nomo-phobia, or the fear of being out of contact, affects a good half of Briton’s wireless-carrying population – A fifth of which stated that they never turn off their phones. This is great if you have a business that requires you to be on call, or if you’re expecting somebody to come. But you should be able to turn it off at night, right? Save the environment, people! Charging a battery takes a pretty penny in fossil fuels.
However, it now seems we can learn some from texting. Text talk and spelling seems like another point to bring up, but a study in the journal Reading and Writing tests whether the phenomenon of chatspeak causes our spelling to dwindle to nothing. Forty people – age twelve to seventeen – saved their text messages for a week and then took a standardized spelling test. Christie Nicholson from Scientific American says the results showed “if you’re a good speller of the Queen’s English, you’re also a good speller in textese. Conversely, if you’re a poor speller academically, you make more errors in chatspeak… using and translating any new language requires concentration and creativity—and is a real brain workout.”
Nevertheless, the average Tappy McTexterson still has to suffer the pain of small buttons and tiny screens which deteriorate your eyes and thumbs. An inflamed thumb “is probably the most common inflammatory condition you get [from texting,] but that hunched-forward posture can also lead to neck and shoulder pain,” says Mark Duggan, who lives on Bay Street in Toronto as a physiotherapist. He’s not kidding either. According to an article on, “Trigger thumb is a common repetitive strain injury that locks the thumb in a bent position making it difficult to perform everyday tasks, according to the Trigger thumb occurs when the tendon that runs through the thumb deteriorates causing inflammation, irritation, swelling and a painful ‘catching’ or clicking in the thumb.” If you want a thumb that’ big and swollen, be my guest. But if you don’t, slide the keypad back in and talk once in a while. It could save your thumb, or more importantly, your life.

(1) BlackBerry is Copyright © 2011 Research In Motion Limited
(2) YouTube is © 2011 Google Corporation

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