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Texting makes kids faster and dumber

Think fast, but inaccurately, thanks to T9

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Predictive text is making kids lazy and inaccurate and the collapse of civilisation can only be prevented by bringing back multi tap.

The idea that using predictive text is making kids more impulsive and less patient is apparently borne out by a study from Professor Michael Abramson of Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

The prof tested kids against a Stroop test (identifying words in the wrong colour: red, blue, etc.) and discovered that kids who use phones most respond more quickly, but with less accuracy, regardless if their use was voice or text based, The Telegraph reports.

Of course, one could suggest that the more impatient kids would use mobiles more, but we prefer to blame any failure of youth on modern technology - they should be forced to multi tap on tiny keyboards like we had to, it never did us any harm (apart from the RSI).

Not that the good Prof. Abramson was looking for text effects - these results are actually a side effect of his long-term research into the effects of electromagnetic fields on young bodies. He's monitoring for failure of cognition that can be attributed to using the mobile phone, but this result flies in the face of that, as texting exposes the brain to an awful lot less radiation than making phone calls, which had exactly the same impact:

"We don't think mobile phones are frying their brains" said the Prof, but the phone might still be to blame: "If you're used to operating in that environment and entering a couple of letters and getting the word you want, you expect everything to be like that."

So it's not so much predictive text which is the problem, but the instant gratification that always-available communication provides, which is equally interesting but a lot less headline friendly. The spin-out study is being published in Bioelectromagnetics.

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