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Texting makes kids more error prone, study finds

Encourages impulsive behaviour, apparently

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Yesterday, we learned that text messaging is supposedly good for the English language. But now a study has discovered that kids who text are more likely to be error-prone and impulsive.

A study conducted in Australia of 317 kids, each aged between 11 and 14, found that 25 per cent of them regularly sent between 15 and 20 texts per week. It was this group that made more mistakes during a number of IQ tests.

Professor Michael Abramson, who led the research at Australia’s Monash University, admitted that frequent texters also responded more rapidly than others to new questions during the tests. But he stressed that they were also less accurate than kids less obsessed with texting.

Professor Abramson put the blame on technologies like predictive text.

Because predictive messaging only requires you to push a couple of buttons to produce the right result, he said, kids soon expect other activities to be equally easy to do correctly. They lose their ability to watch out for and correct errors. This makes them faster but less accurate.

Frequent mobile phone use in general also negatively impacted how the kids responded during the tests, but Abramson played down suggestions that radiation had anything to do with this.

“We don't think mobile phones are frying their brains,” he said. ®

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