A teenager has been rewarded with $50,000 for becoming the fastest texter in the US.
The event, won by 17-year-old Austin Weirschke, included 11 competitors – all of whom were hoping to be crowned the king of speed texting on a mobile phone.
Weirschke claimed his success was down to practice and the 500-odd texts he sends every single day.
While Weirschke will be sure to cherish his lavish prize money, should a competition really be celebrating the excessive use of something which can be deemed to encourage uneasiness, anger and sleeplessness?
Powered by a bright led light, it is believed that texting – especially at night time – can cause disrupt sleeping patterns and subsequently have an effect on our memory. Neuroscientist Dr Paul Howard-Jones claims that while the negatives of excessive utilisation of digital technologies can sometimes be overstated, he insisted that parents should discourage youngsters from texting at night time.
Howard-Jones theorises that staring at a small but dominant screen of led lighting causes the secretion of the melatonin hormone which harnesses our sleep cycle. Disrupting this hormone with excessive texting late at night can lead to drowsiness during the day time and increase the chances of academic under performance.
Another study, carried out by the Indore-based Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College in 2011, suggested that 60 per cent of people who text on a regular basis admit a slumping in academic performance.
The physical side effects have also been highlighted by the US Center for Sports Medicine who claim that excessive texting – regarded as sending between 100 to 300 texts a day – can lead to irreversible bone damage in young people. A bit scary, you could say. Although, admittedly, if you send over 100 texts a day you’d probably assume some form of negative consequences would follow.
So what is the reason for young people excessively texting? Well, texting is simple, and in most cases, relatively cheap. A report from the New York Times supports this claim by pinpointing unlimited texting plans as a major factor behind the favourable use of mobile communication.
For youngsters, these benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. For Austin Weirshchke, excessive texting has just won him the recognition of his peers, exposure to a global audience and $50,000 to boot.
Texting might not become a mainstream competitive sport anytime soon but our familiarity with the small screen is likely to continue for a long time to come.
An experienced and talented copywriter, Matthew Wood writes SEO savvy content for a collection of online publications and web projects. Matthew’s latest work involves writing creative and engaging content on the subjects of LED Lighting and LED Lights for the established online brand UltraLEDs.