Entries in Text Messaging (8)


Study: Voice-to-Text While Driving Not Safer than Typing Messages

Texas A&M Transportation Institute(COLLEGE STATION, Texas) -- To combat the reported dangers of texting while driving, many new mobile phone voice control applications and products have hit the market.

Apple's Siri voice assistant and Samsung's S Voice are two apps that allow users to, among many other things, text by speaking.

But a new study has found that voice-to-text might not be any safer than type-to-text while driving.

The study, conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, found that reaction times while texting were nearly twice as slow as when drivers were not texting, regardless of whether they were texting with their voice or their fingers.

"From our experiment, the response times and amount of time looking at the roadway was about the same when texting manually or using a voice-to-text application," Christine Yager, an associate transportation researcher at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, told ABC News.

"I previously co-led a study that looked at the differences between reading versus writing text-based messages while driving," Yager said. "I became curious how newer methods of sending/receiving text messages would affect driver behavior and safety," she said.

In the study, the researchers asked 43 participants to drive 30 mph inside marked lanes on a closed course four times. The drivers were asked not to text in the first round, to send several texts via type-to-text in the second round and then several more texts via voice-to-text using Apple's Siri on an iPhone and Vlingo's voice app on a Samsung Android in the third and fourth rounds.

During the test drives, cameras tracked drivers' eye gaze, and GPS was used to record change in lane positioning. Driver-response time was measured by how many seconds it took the drivers to press a response button after a green LED light periodically flashed on the dashboard.

Drivers reported that the voice-to-text methods felt "safer," but the difference in driver reaction times when compared with type-to-text was slim to none. Texting with Apple's Siri, on average, actually produced slower response times than the type-to-text method. Response times while using Vlingo to text were the fastest, but only by a very small margin.

When texting with Vlingo, drivers spent more time with their eyes on their devices and less time with their eyes on the road, according to the study. While using Siri, drivers kept their eyes on the road more often.

The study also found that, on average, when using the voice-to-text software, the drivers took longer to complete a text than when typing manually.

Yager said that even though each participant was given time to practice using each method of texting before the experiment, voice-to-text software was still new to most drivers. "It would require additional research to determine whether any driving performance improvements would be observed from being more familiar with the voice-to-text software," Yager said.

"A way to relate this study's results to the everyday driver is that if a texting driver is watching the road less often and their reaction times are slower, then that driver is less able to take action in response to a sudden roadway hazard, like a pedestrian in the street or a swerving vehicle," Yager said.

Thirty-nine states have already outlawed type-to-text texting, but hands-free, voice-to-text remains legal in every state.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


More Teens Prefer Texting to Calling, Study Shows

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The days of teens tying up the phone for hours are long gone. A new study by the Pew Research Center finds that they're texting more, and talking on the phone less.

“The average teen now texts 60 texts a day, as opposed to 50 just two years ago,” said Pew senior research specialist Amanda Lenhart. “Texting is also really superseding and perhaps replacing other kinds of communication.”

Lenhart says texting has become the communication of choice among teens. Sure, they will speak to each other on their smartphones: “Just about a quarter of all teens have a smartphone,” she said. But given a choice, they prefer to text it than say it.

“We actually saw declines over the past two years in voice calling, both on a cellphone and on a landline phone,” Lenhart said. “Teens are just doing less of that.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Are Anthony Weiner's Online Trysts Adultery?

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Although there may not have been any physical contact between Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y. and the women with whom he confessed to having inappropriate online relationships, some psychologists consider the married congressman's conduct as nothing short of adultery.

"Nonphysical sexting relationships are similar to emotional affairs that are highly sexualized," said Nadine Kaslow, a psychology professor at Emory University in Atlanta.

"Technology has opened up whole new avenues for cheating," said psychotherapist Bethany Marshall. "The motivation is the same, but the pathway is different."

Weiner attributed his behavior to "terrible judgment and actions," and he apologized to his wife.

"I should not have done this, and I should not have done this particularly when I was married," Weiner said at a press conference.

Philadelphia psychologist Marion Rudin Frank calls online relationships "betrayal[s] of the partner" and says people who engage in them often believe there is no risk involved if there is no sex. Weiner and others who get involved in online relationships often do so because of a need for quick and casual sex, experts say. People often carry on multiple affairs and engage in compulsive sexting because that desire for sexual satisfaction becomes like an addiction.

"It can be and usually is addictive and actually out chemistry," said Frank. "Like any addiction, it is self-defeating. [A person] cannot do just a little, and it makes people act in ways they regret."

"Online porn addictions and compulsive sexting are quite linked, as they often relate to sex that is objectifying and not very personal," said Kaslow.

"Social media often makes us less mindful of our actions because we think that if it is in cyberspace it doesn't count as much or we are less likely to be found out or held accountable for our actions," said Kaslow.

Sites like Facebook and other social networking sites make relationships seem less daunting, since they eliminate the need for physical and emotional intimacy, Kaslow said. Texting and other types of online contact often lead to what she calls "faux intimacy."

"We are more prone to lie to ourselves [and say] 'It's not really action,'" said Frank.

In the end, though, experts say relationships carried out on social media sites are very likely to be uncovered.

"I am deeply sorry that I lied about this, but at the end of the day, I lied because I was embarrassed. I was ashamed of what I had done and I didn't want to get caught," Weiner admitted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sexting a Growing Headache for Adults

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Sexting, a growing problem among teens, has become a headache for politicians such as Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York and Hollywood starlets such as Blake Lively embroiled in controversies about questionable pictures.

Both Weiner and Lively say they are victims.

But despite pointing to an unidentified hoax, Weiner admitted last week that a lewd photo sent to a Seattle student from his Twitter account could have been him, though it might have been manipulated. Weiner, who has denied sending the photo, said his Twitter account had been hacked. "It was someone sending a picture of a weiner on Weiner's account," the Democrat told ABC News. The congressman has hired a private security firm to investigate who tweeted the photo -- as rumors of new pictures and text content concerning the embattled politician have hit the blogosphere.

Sexting -- sending sexually explicit messages or photographs via electronic devices -- was once considered primarily a teen issue, with parents and even MTV warning of the consequences. MTV aired messages saying, "Sexts can take on a life of their own."

It seems adults might need some warnings of their own too. "Adults, particularly those in positions of power like politicians, sext because they want even more power," said Bethany Marshall, a marriage and family therapist in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Married Rep. Christopher Lee, R-N.Y., resigned in February after he reportedly sent a bare-chested image of himself to a woman on Craigslist.

Gossip Girl actress Lively is the latest Hollywood starlet to get caught up in a nude photo scandal. She said the iPhone pictures that surfaced last week are 100 percent fake.

The FBI is investigating a ring of hackers accused of releasing photos of young celebrities including Vanessa Hudges, Scarlett Johansson and Miley Cyrus.

Football player Brett Favre denied in the fall texting a lewd photo of himself to Jenn Sterger when he was playing for the New York Jets in 2008. The National Football League investigated the incident and fined Favre $50,000.

Sexting scandals aren't reserved for the famous and powerful. A 41-year-old English teacher from New Hampshire admitted to texting nude photos and sending inappropriate emails to a 15-year-old student.

"Basically, people are engaging in the same fantasies and behaviors that they always have," therapist Marshall said, "but now they have the technology to back it up."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Adults, Not Just Teens, Are Engaging in 'Sexting'

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In 2009, the Pew Center for Internet and American Life published survey findings that 4 percent of adolescents 12 to 17 years old had sent "sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images or videos" of themselves to someone else via text message.

That sparked a "sexting" panic over the unsettling implications of young people engaging in this type of illicit interaction, as well as legal issues involving the cell phone-transmitted photos that could be deemed child pornography.

Consequently, much of the media attention to sexting has focused solely on adolescent behavior, yet the act of sexting isn't limited to teens.  Plenty of adults send racy text messages and cell phone pictures, too.

Psychology professor Michelle Drouin has studied sexting behavior among the college-aged population and found that around half of people in committed relationships had sent a sext photo to their partners, and two-thirds had engaged in sext messaging.

"It's a part of our dating culture to be doing this," said Drouin, who teaches at Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne.

Though Drouin doesn't see sexting as inherently "dangerous" as it's often portrayed in the context of adolescent relationships, her research indicates the sexting behavior does relate to certain types of "red flag" relationship styles among adults.

"Those who are anxiously attached and those who are avoidantly attached were more likely to use texting," Drouin said.  "But when you broke it down, it was actually women who were anxiously attached who were more likely to use sexting and were more likely be sending messages.  The men who were avoidantly attached -- those who dismiss the importance of interactions and relationships -- were more likely to be receiving those sexual text messages."

Conversely, people with healthier relationship styles don't tend to sext as much.

The low level of commitment involved with sending sexual text messages, as opposed to verbal and face-to-face contact, may also impact relationship dynamics.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


How Dangerous Is Distracted Driving?

Ryan McVay/Photodisc(WASHINGTON) -- Some safety advocates say we are in a national state of denial about the dangers posed by using a cellphone behind the wheel.

According to distracted-driving expert David Strayer, Ph.D., a cellphone might as well be a bottle of beer.

"What we're seeing in terms of the crash risk when you're texting or talking on the phone is that [it] is comparable to driving when you're drunk at a .08 blood alcohol level," he said.

Drivers aren't the only problem. Some safety advocates accuse car makers of adding distractions to new cars.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told ABC News, "You also can't drive safely if you're trying to download your Facebook in an automobile. You can't drive safely when you're trying to adjust your GPS. You can't drive safely with all the technology that car companies are now trying to put in automobiles. These technologies, I believe, are a distraction."

LaHood said he has met with car manufacturers and has told them they have to be part of the solution to distracted driving.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is studying the impact of vehicle cellphone use on driving performance. The study, expected to cost $1.75 million, will examine behaviors of 150 drivers in vehicles equipped with high-tech sensors that will collect data for about a month.

The results will be evaluated to see which type of cellphone interface causes the greatest decrease in driving performance. In addition, the study should shed some light on cognitive distraction, because it will evaluate handheld cellphone use versus hands-free use. The research is expected to be completed by 2012.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio?


When Sexting Goes Viral Teens Suffer the Consequences

Goodshoot RF/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The proliferation of cellphones equipped with video cameras has made shooting and sending x-rated videos easier than ever for teenagers. The world of "sexting" -- sending sexually explicit text messages -- amongst teens that was once limited to raunchy words and pictures is increasingly moving into the video domain -- with devastating consequences.

According to a 2008 study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, more than one in five teenage girls have sent or posted nude images of themselves.

The pressure to send illicit material is also beginning at shockingly young ages.

"I was asked for a picture in seventh grade," said 15-year-old high school student Jessica Pereira.

The explicit images are often made between teens in a relationship, but after the teens break up the videos can go viral.

When 16-year-old Julia Kirouac broke up with her boyfriend last fall, he shared the sexy images she says he pressured her into making for him. The humiliation sent Julia into a deep depression and in early February Julia downed a bottle of pills in an attempt to kill herself. She spent a week in the hospital recovering. Now, she says, she's learned a powerful lesson she wants to share with other teens.

"I just want them to know that they don't have to do anything that they don't want do," Julia said fighting back tears. "And if they think that they need to send pictures or videos, whatever it is, to a guy that they're dating or that they like, it's not worth it at all.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Text Messaging Actually Good for Young People?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON) -- For many teachers and parents, those text abbreviations may spell the end of literacy as we know it, but a growing body of research indicates that text messages can actually help students' ability to spell.

In a study to be published next month in the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, Clare Wood, a senior lecturer in the psychology department at Coventry University, and her colleagues recruited 114 students ages nine and 10 who had never owned a cell phone. They gave half of the students cell phones to use on the weekends and holidays and, during 10 weeks, the researchers tested students in both groups on reading, spelling and phonological skills.

The researchers found no difference between how students in the two groups performed.

"There was absolutely no sign that it was problematic," said Wood.

She said it's likely that this study was too short for the benefits of texting to be apparent, but added that another longer-term study to be published later this year in the British Journal of Psychology showed that texting significantly boosted the growth of literacy skills.

The study included 119 students aged eight to 12 who use cell phones, and looked at the relationship between their texting habits and performance on reading, spelling and phonological skills tests. The researchers tested students at the beginning of the academic year, analyzed a sample of their text messages and then tested students again at the end of the academic year.

Wood said the results of that study found that the use of text abbreviations was driving spelling development. They even reversed the analysis to see if it was the good spellers who tended to use text abbreviations, but found that relationship was unidirectional, she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio