talking vs. texting on a cell phone

This or That: Talking vs. Texting

Cell phones let you communicate almost anywhere. But is it better to talk to someone or send a text message?

By Emily Main


RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Your neighbor on an airplane is chattering noisily on her cell, preventing you from taking a much-needed nap. When you text your friend to convey your irritation, she responds with a message you can’t understand. So, which is the superior means of cell phone communication, talking or sending text messages? Which is better for your health, for the environment, and for being understood?

This: Talking

Pros: Clearly you can have more meaningful conversations when speaking over the phone than when trading abbreviated text messages. And holding a conversation via cell phone only requires the use of one hand (or none, if you use a headset or hands-free setup).

Cons: The science is still out on whether cell phones raise your risk of cancer. A recent review published in the international journal Pathophysiology shows that a majority of industry-funded research found very little evidence of a link between cell phones and brain tumors—while all of the independently funded studies saw a “significant increased brain tumor risk.” Brain tumors aren’t the only health hazard associated with cell phones. Recent research on brain activity and communication has found that drivers are just as prone to cell-phone-related car accidents while using hands-free devices as they are while holding the phone.

Published on: April 28, 2009
Updated on: June 9, 2010

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