Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Negative Side of SMS

Time really flies so fast. It has been over a decade since Short Message Service (SMS) or simply texting was introduced in the country. Through the years, this communication medium has gotten into us Filipinos and in fact marked the Philippines as the “texting capital of the world.”

Remember when sending texts were free back then? This is actually why most of the early users preferred to use it more than calling, which they get charged for. Since it bridges communication faster and easier as compared to beepers, users started abusing and exploiting the SMS service. As a result, network providers started charging.

With the advent of cheaper SIM cards and lots of unlimited promos today, texting has really urged people to use mobile phones day in and day out. Looking at the habit, SMS has actually brought several negative things.

Poorer language
The limitation of standard message length of 160 has definitely degraded our thinking as witnessed in the manner of communication. Pinoys may be guilty of doing one or two of these: (1) shortening words by removing a few vowels, (2) squeezing in message by deleting some articles, and (3) avoiding punctuations to fit more words.

Texting while driving
A lot of motorists have been hard-headed in following officials to stop texting while driving. Because we are so addicted to it, we risk our lives in tip-tapping our phones even while moving rapidly in highways.

When will we ever learn? Do we stop when we encounter an accident or when it’s too late already?

Spam messages
Over the years, more and more unsolicited texts land in our message inbox. Obviously, it’s all for the money. Advertisers would pay network operators to send marketing campaigns to users, especially since almost all adults carry a mobile phone nowadays; Politicians would suddenly send a message about an official’s accomplishments or plea for votes; And various agents would offer cash loans to random people. All these are trash to most people, yes?

On top of that, some mischievous people would prey on innocent people by asking them to send money or prepaid credits in exchange for a prize they jokingly won. How evil!

Inappropriate use
Text messaging has impacted students academically by creating an easier way to cheat on exams.

It has also been largely used in crimes and malicious acts, since prepaid SIM cards may be bought without the need to register them to NTC.

Text “bullying” has been a concern as well, since spreading rumors and gossip by text can cause distress and damage reputations.

Although texting has been linked to some medical concerns such as strain injuries and cause of cancer, there’s no stopping us from using it. We’re just so hooked and we find much importance to it.

Texting has surely given us a new way of interaction by allowing us to communicate to more people at a single time in a cheaper option compared to calling, but it has also definitely impacted our lives negatively in more ways than one.

This article is my twenty-fourth contribution to Manila Bulletin -- one of the Philippines' leading broadsheets -- published on July 25, 2011 (Monday) in the TechNews Section. You can view the PDF version here.

Photo Source: Manila Bulletin


Yup I still remember when texting was free.  Another bad effect is miscommunication.  Texting is very ineffective in expressing emotions or tone.  Though smileys, wink, sad face sometimes maybe enough.  Also, instead of greeting loved ones personally we just send one text of "Happy birthday" and that's it.

Hi, Dan! You're definitely right on that. I've written that part of lesser emotions brought my technology on a previously published article --

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