Does texting boost family bonds?

Published On: Dec 02 2013 02:10:32 PM EST

Text messaging may not be as impersonal as we thought.


A new study finds people are more likely to speak openly and honestly in a text message than face to face.  In fact, a majority of women think texting actually strengthens relationships within their family.


University of Nebraska researchers asked nearly 150 people fill out a questionnaire about their text-messaging practices. 


They found that more than 60% of people report they rarely lie in a text message, and about half admit they’re more likely to be rude via text than in-person.  Nearly 80% say they are more likely to express their feelings honestly via text compared to in-person.


Dr. Scott Bea, a clinical psychologist at Cleveland Clinic, says text messaging has evolved.


“I think it’s a little less impersonal than it started out to be.  I think people are writing longer texts, sharing more information," said Bea. 


When asked about texting family members, most participants in the study said they will respond to a family member’s text within five minutes.  A majority said they text their mom most often, and typically it’s to convey information.  Those frequent texts may pay off.  Over half of the women surveyed credit texting for increasing connectivity and enhancing their relationships with family members.


"While it may not be ideal, and it may erode over time our ability to converse face-to-face, it’s here to stay and I think people are making use of it for all sorts of reasons. One of the best ones is to create better connections with each other," said Bea.


Texting is especially key for staying connected to the next generation.


“I think smart adults are using it as a vehicle to communicate with their kids," said Bea.  "Their kids are certainly going to use this as a vehicle to communicate with them, so I think most of us in the culture are kind of getting up to speed that this is a way that we communicate now.”


Complete findings for this study are in “The Social Science Journal.” 


What do you think?  Does texting help or hurt your family's relationships?



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