Healthy Thumbs


texting2 Maybe that title should say “Healthy Adolescent Thumbs” with a question mark. I am not alone worrying about a teenage daughter developing the latest technology affliction known as “Blackberry Thumb”. Last year I mentioned in a post that my then 13 year old daughter was sending 4 to 5 thousand text messages per month. I was amazed that she was able to do this and many of the comments on that post shared my surprise. Well get ready to get you shorts blown off when I tell you what I discovered in reviewing the past few months of our cell phone bill. Yes, I was really shocked to see how crazy this has become among my daughter and her friends.

Blackberry thumb is becoming more and more common and is a direct result of the increase in text messaging among all ages. It seems to be more common in older business people, but it is also being found in kids as young as 12 years old. The real worry according to some orthopedic doctors is that these kids that are texting so much now are setting them selves up for arthritis in their thumbs and wrists later in life. One study said if you are texting more than 10 or 15 minutes at a time there is a high chance you will developed repetitive motion injury. If you have a teenager, you know how comical that recommendation is. Many teens text almost constantly every minute they are awake.

Do you think you text too much? Do you have teens that are always texting? How many texts do they send in a month? Do you know anyone with sore thumbs or wrists from texting? We have unlimited text messaging on our mobile plan, so we do not see any increase in cost from our daughter’s addiction, and she has not complained about any discomfort, but I am concerned that she really needs to cut back to prevent future problems. I do know this will be almost impossible to accomplish, so I guess it is just another thing I am sentenced to worry about!

Anyway, I just decided not to tell you yet how many text messages she is sending each month, but rather let a few readers guess first. I do promise to reveal the answer, but take a few shots at the number first. Then I will take suggestions on how we might bring this under control.

Well, a few weeks later, here is the answer:  She sends and receives almost 24,000 a month on average, just about evenly split between incoming and outgoing.  Yikes!

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Will Sig
1 Anna

No texting for me, as a matter of fact I disabled text messageing on my phone. For me cell phone is for emergency only. I can see the consequences later in life, but that’s how it is with new technology there are always pros and cons, unfortunately pros are immediately, and cons are long term consequences….Anna 🙂

Annas last blog post..A Bit of Knowledge: Home Decor – Cropping and Sizing Photos for Printing


2 Will

You disabled it Anna? Wow! I could not do that. I do see the use for it and probably send and receive a couple hundred texts a month. But wait until you see the number I am talking about in this post, you won’t believe it.


3 Will

That is real interesting, Livingsword. I have watched her and her friends and talked to them about it and I don’t have any real concerns about anything other than the physical aspect of it. All the texting is among friends and seems to be a normal part of their lives. They are in constant touch with each other and all seem to be very socially adept kids who relate to each other and to the adults around them very well. I actually send about 100 – 200 text messages a month, receiving about the same number myself, so I can see the benefit of the technology.

Thanks for the guess, but too low. Way to low.

Any other takers?


4 Livingsword

Hi Will….


I volunteer with a lot of young people and this really is a social/anti-social issue for many of them. Many consider people physically with them in a rather dissociative state…almost like the other people are not real but cyber people…in contrast they often act as though those they are communicating with in text are the real deal…

Now of course the people in person and on the other end of the “line” are real but why the disconnect?

Although there are possibilities for a physical problem at this point I am more concerned about the societal implications and the mental emotional well being of people in these situations. I think it is actually much worse than we think but we are as the frog in the warming water…technology is wonderful (after all I do blog) but it is a tool and should not become the master…


5 Steve

Hey Will,
I don’t text, and actually just disabled texting on our phones as well since I was getting charged 20 cents each time someone sent one. I suppose there is a benefit to it, but I’ll put off doing it for a while yet. I’m ok with just using phones to talk. 🙂
And my guess is 4,359…
~ Steve, the trade show guru
PS. I have a sore arm from too much computer “mousing” over the years, so I would not be at all surprised to see a lot of people end up with chronically sore thumbs from too much texting. Yet another reason to ignore the new technology. 😉

Steves last blog post..Trade Show Booth Staffing Secrets


6 Will

Hi Steve – You need to be like me as good with the mouse in the left hand as the right. Although I got that way from running two computers at the same time, all the time. Maybe my daughter gets her affinity for technology from me?

As to your guess, look at Livingsword’s guess above and my reply. This could be fun. I think I need to go out and solicit some guesses to see if anyone even comes close. If you have any on-line friends with teenage daughters, send them here to guess, they probably have the only chance to come close!


7 Steve

hey Will,
7182… too low, way too low?
ok, I’ll go with 10,000, but with 30 days in a month that would be 333 per day (every day!), and assuming 8 hours a day of phone time, that would be 40 texts per hour, or 2 texts every three minutes.
No, that is just insane! ~ Steve, the non-texting trade show guru

Steves last blog post..Trade Show Booth Staffing Secrets


8 Will

Well I just discovered that the bill includes not only the texts she sends but the ones she receives also. So about 1/2 of the text messages on the bill were incoming and the other half were ones she sent. So for as far as guessing how many she actually sent, the number is not as high as I originally thought. But…… you are still too low, Steve.


9 Joey Logano

Wow… I can’t believe the sheer number of text messages that were sent!


10 Richard

I found this post searching for information on text messaging. We recently went to unlimited text messaging on our mobile plan because my 2 offspring were sending a lot of texts each month. By that I mean a couple hundred. When I see information like you wrote, I am scared of where we are headed now with our unlimited plan.


11 Will

Thanks Richard – This reminds me to post the answer to how many text messages per month she sends and receives. Look above at the updated end of the post for the answer!


12 Steve

24,000 a month! That is CRAZY!
That is 800 text per day, which means ONE TEXT EVERY MINUTE FOR OVER 12 HOURS STRAIGHT (and every day of the month!!!!).
WOW! Excuse the caps but WOW WOW WOW!
~ Steve, the no-texts-for-me trade show guru

Steves last blog post..Trade Show Exhibit Booths and SEO


13 Will

Hey Steve – She is so fast that several incoming and outgoing in a minute is not unusual. She has gone through a few phones in the past year. They have all been replaced under warranty though. Except for the one that fell into the porcelain “dog water bowl”. Had to use the insurance we had on the phone for that one.


14 Steve

Hey Will,
Are you saying your daughter is wearing out phones? Wow.
I am reminded of the old saying, “Everything in MODERATION.”
I also wonder why people don’t just call and talk. Much easier I think. Hmmm…. Steve, the trade show guru

Steves last blog post..Trade Show Exhibit Booths and SEO


15 Luc J

Does the phone have a fan for cooling it?

It’s not only a problem with kids, also adults tend to send mails back & forth all the time in stead of just picking up the phone and explaining the issue. That would save a lot of time and frustration.

Maybe in 10 years, culture will change again…
.-= Luc J´s last blog ..Scosche Interference-Free FM Transmitter for Your iPod =-.


16 Will

Yeah, Luc, maybe if culture implodes! Otherwise I think we are headed in the opposite direction. I know I am one of the earliest adopters and biggest boosters of new technology. I read about it, listen to podcasts, and dream about what we might be able to do in a few years.


17 Hillary

You had to make me look I sent out over 600 text messages, and average between 400 and 700 a month. Wow I need to take a break


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