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If You Don’t Like Texting, Here’s Some Good News For You

If You Don’t Like Texting, Here’s Some Good News For You

People who text frequently are more shallow, hedonistic, and do not strive towards moral goals, a new study shows.

The study was the result of an undergraduate thesis project conducted by Logan Annisette. The results were published in the article “Social media, texting, and personality: A test of the shallowing hypothesis“, which appeared in the February edition of the journal Personality and Individual Differences.

Kathryn Lafreniere, coordinator of the psychology undergraduate honors thesis program, says Annisette found a strong correlation between frequent texting and image-related concerns. Frequent texters were seen to strive towards goals related to appearance and hedonism.

“Where goals related to morality—like living life with genuine integrity and leading an ethical and principled life—those were negatively related,” Dr. Lafreniere says. “People espousing those ideals texted and used social media less frequently.”

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Texting participants did not appear to value or undertake self-reflection

Annisette and Lafreniere asked undergraduate students to rank dozens of life goals according to their significance to the individual student. What they found was that students who engaged in regular texting and social media normally valued things to do with image and hedonism. For example, they wrote: “I want to achieve the look I’ve always been after” or “I want to have an exciting lifestyle.”

The texting participants were less concerned with goals that related to morality and did not appear to value or undertake self-reflection.

The researchers cautioned that texting and social media involvement could make it more difficult for students to have meaningful friendships and could also have a negative effect on student’s grades.

“Whether it becomes an issue that needs to be dealt with or not is a matter of debate. But it’s an issue that demands our concern and poses a need for additional research,” said Annisette.

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Social Media might lead to shallow thinking

Lafreniere voiced concern over the fact that many of the students were receiving news about current events through social media.

“If [social media] is the way people are getting all their information about current events, that’s kind of a recipe for shallow thinking about that event,” said Lafreniere.

She said that this could lead to a superficial understanding of the world around us.

“One wonders if people are looking at headlines without clicking on the article and looking at anything more nuanced. It could be setting up a cycle where people are taking shortcuts to deep thinking about important topics in the world.”

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The Study

Annisette gained his inspiration for the study from the 2010 Pulitzer Prize-nominated book The Shallows by Nicholas Carr, a technology and culture critic. Carr proposed that short bursts of texting resulted in shallow thought and a decrease in the amount one engages in daily reflection.

In all, 149 students participated in the study. The students were asked to rank the importance of nearly 60 life goals. The breadth and subject matter of the questions ranged dramatically from “I want to have a really good sex life” to “I want to find a real purpose and meaning in life.”

Students were also presented with a “reflection questionnaire.” This questionnaire required them to agree or disagree with statements like “I love exploring my inner self” or “Contemplating myself isn’t my idea of fun.”

Reflections

Anisette notes that “I don’t find (social media) inherently evil or dangerous or problematic, but I argue that it’s not the best use of our time.”

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But Lafreniere believes that if you are texting continuously or always checking your social media accounts, you can probably afford to take a break.

“We want people to be more deeply reflective and take the time necessary to do that,” she said.

“People have to break that cycle of over-engagement with social media or texting,” she said. “If they’re always kind of looking at their phone they may be missing something, some deeper experiences that aren’t as shallow.”

Featured photo credit: Positive Moms via positivemomsmagazine.com

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Rebecca Beris

Rebecca is a wellness and lifestyle writer at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on June 26, 2020

10 Things To Remember When Everything Goes Wrong

10 Things To Remember When Everything Goes Wrong

Problems and heartaches in life are inevitable. However, there are some things to remember when you’re right in the thick of it that can help you get through it. When everything seems to be going wrong, practice telling yourself these things.

1. This Too Shall Pass

Sometimes life’s rough patches feel like they’re going to last forever. Whether you’re dealing with work-related issues, family problems, or stressful situations, very few problems last for a lifetime. So remind yourself, that things won’t be this bad forever.

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2. Some Things are Going Right

When things are going wrong, it’s hard to recognize what is going right. It’s easy to screen out the good things and only focus on the bad things. Remind yourself that some things are going right. Purposely look for the positive, even if it is something very small.

3. I Have Some Control

One of the most most important things to remember is that you have some control of the situation. Even if you aren’t in complete control of the situation, one thing you can always control is your attitude and reaction. Focus on managing what is within your control.

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4. I Can Ask for Help

Asking for help can be hard sometimes. However, it’s one of the best ways to deal with tough situations. Tell people what you need specifically if they offer to help. Don’t be afraid to call on friends and family and ask them for help, whether you need financial assistance, emotional support, or practical help.

5. Much of This Won’t Matter in a Few Years

Most of the problems we worry about today won’t actually matter five years from now. Remind yourself that whatever is going wrong now is only a small percentage of your actual life. Even if you’re dealing with a major problem, like a loved one’s illness, remember that a lot of good things are likely to happen in the course of a year or two as well.

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6. I Can Handle This

A lack of confidence in handling tough times can add to stress. One of the best things to remember is that you can handle tough situations. Even though you might feel angry, hurt, disappointed, or sad, it won’t kill you. You can get through it.

7. Something Good Will Come Out of This

No matter how bad a situation is, it’s almost certain that something good will come out of it. At the very least, it’s likely that you will learn a life lesson. Perhaps you learn not to repeat the same mistake in the future or maybe you move on from a bad situation and find something better. Look for the one good thing that can result when bad things happen.

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8. I Can Accept What’s Out of my Control

There are many things that aren’t within your control. You can’t change the past, another person’s behavior, or a loved one’s health issues. Don’t waste time trying to force others to change or trying to make things be different if it isn’t within your control. Investing time and energy into trying to things you can’t will cause you to feel helpless and exhausted. Acceptance is one of the best way to establish resilience.

9. I Have Overcome Past Difficulties

One of the things to remember when you’re facing difficulties, is that you’ve handled problems in the past. Don’t overlook past difficulties that you’ve dealt with successfully. Remind yourself of all the past problems you’ve overcome and you’ll gain confidence in dealing with the current issues.

10. I Need to Take Care of Myself

When everything seems to be going wrong, take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest, get some exercise, eat healthy, and spend some time doing leisure activities. When you’re taking better care of yourself you’ll be better equipped to deal with your problems.

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Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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