Indian youth hooked to text messaging

As telecom companies try to outdo each other with attractive and cheap SMS plans offering hundreds of free messages daily, it has transformed the communication patterns of youngsters in India, with 60 percent of those surveyed choosing it as the preferred mode of communication, an industry lobby said .”Communication patterns of young India” was conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) between January and April and 2,000 youngsters from 12 to 20 years of age were interviewed in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Patna and others, with Delhi topping the list.

“Nearly 70 percent of Delhi’s youngsters prefer messaging over other forms of communication like face-to-face conversations, voice calling, social networking, instant messaging and e-mailing, whereas the national figure stands at 60 percent,” said the survey.

According to the survey, while 70 percent of youngsters in Delhi send and receive between 100 to 125 text messages daily and over 3,000 texts each month while another 15 per cent are texting 75 to 100 messages daily. Around 50 messages are exchanged daily by 10 percent and meagre five percent respondents said that they send around 30 to 40 texts daily.

“Sending and receiving text messages has become primary means of communication, so much so that excessive texting has become an obsession amongst youngsters,” D.S. Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM.

“But, excessive texting is leading to a number of problems as they are developing problems like insomnia, depression, lack of eating, isolation etc. Besides, according to reports of chamber’s analysis prolonged engagement with such an activity can lead to diseases like brain tumour and infertility,” added Rawat.

But the youngsters opined that texting was a more secretive form of communication as it can be carried out under the nose of their parents, teachers, guardians and other figures in authority and was an economical option too, said the survey.

Alarmingly, around 60 percent of youngsters admitted that they text while driving, considering it multi-tasking.

“It’s a disturbing fact as the risk of a car crash increases by 30 times in case of texting while driving, as drivers typically take their eyes off from the road for nearly 5 seconds to send or receive text messages,” said the survey.

Nearly 90 percent slept with the phone next to them and were suffering from insomnia. A majority of the respondents admitted that they are often awakened by a phone call or a text message after going to bed and the lack of sleep has been affecting their work and progress.

“Around 80 percent the city said that they check their phones every few seconds to see if they have received any message and due to constant fast typing on the cell phone’s keypad, at times they feel severe pain in area between thumb & wrist which throbs constantly.”

According to the ASSOCHAM analysis, the popularity of text messaging in India has risen dramatically as compared to 2006 when a youngster on an average used to send around 5-10 text messages daily as there were not enough of cheap messaging deals provided by telecom companies. This has risen to almost 125 text messages per day during the course of the last five years.(IANS)