The Great Texting DebateKaty Kelleher2/23/09 12:40pmFiled to: omg, Kids 2dayTextingTechnologyAddictionsAppic136EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkSunday's Washington Post featured the story of 15-year-old Julie Zingeser, who managed to send 6,473 text messages in one month. Writer Donna St. George asks: is texting a new addiction plaguing the youth of America?AdvertisementThe Washington Post explores both sides of this issue, but by now, we are probably more familiar with the cons than the pros. There is the old grouse about text speak, emoticons and the decline of writing, along with other, more serious concerns:There also are concerns about texting while driving, text-bullying and "sexting," or the term for adolescents messaging naked photos of themselves or others. What might have been intended for a friend can be widely distributed, and the texting of lewd photographs of minors can lead to criminal charges.The American Journal of Psychiatry published an editorial last year by psychiatrist Jerald J. Block, suggesting that addiction to the Internet and text messaging be included in the diagnostic manual for mental illnesses.Sexting has proved to be a real problem lately, with teens nude cellphone pictures resulting in charges of disseminating child pornography. However, the question about online addiction seems even hairier. We're just beginning to come to terms with the idea of sex addiction (and many still wonder whether it a real addiction) so while it is not surprising that some feel addicted to the internet or texting -or their "crackberries" - it is still up for debate whether this should be classified as an addiction up there with "real" issues like alcohol or drugs. But, as Block points out, we won't know the repercussions of our texting tendencies for some time: "our use of technology today amounts to a large social experiment. We still don't know how it helps us or how it hurts us."