Wellbeing and Mental Health

Texting is a daily source of stress for 1/3 of people - are you one of them?

Activist Austin Guest uses his iPhone to communicate with other protest organizers using Celly, a mobile phone application that allows for group text message conversations, during a protest in New York May 1, 2012. Guest, a 31-year-old Harvard graduate, has been involved with Occupy Wall Street since the early days of the movement's encampment at Manhattan's Zuccotti Park. An online community organizer and an actor, Guest describes the movement against economic inequality as the best thing that has ever happened in his life. He has since quit his day job and moved out of his apartment to commit himself fully to Occupy. Picture taken May 1, 2012.   REUTERS/Andrew Burton   (UNITED STATES - Tags: CIVIL UNREST BUSINESS SOCIETY)ATTENTION EDITORS: PICTURE 18 OF 31 FOR PACKAGE 'PROFILE OF AN ACTIVIST'SEARCH 'BURTON OCCUPY' FOR ALL IMAGES - GM2E86D1LPG01

Texting is a common cause of daily anxiety. Image: REUTERS/Andrew Burton

Emma Charlton
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Do you ever feel stressed by the number of text messages you have to reply to?

Are you constantly checking your phone? Do you sometimes forget you have replies that are due?

You’re not alone. Texting is a daily source of anxiety for approximately 31% of people, according to a study by Viber, with 1 in 5 people saying they struggle to keep up with responses and nearly 1 in 6 ignoring all messages because they receive so many.

Image: Rakuten Viber Study

The study underlines how texting has evolved. Once it was a simple way to shoot back a “yes” or “no” reply to your friend: Today it is a full-colour, emoji-laden format that can create lengthy and even hard-to-interpret messages.

Overcoming the stresses of messaging requires well-developed digital intelligence or “DQ” skills. These are a set of social, emotional and cognitive abilities required to meet the growing demands of digital life.

To make sure all children have access to these skills, the DQ Institute launched the #DQEveryChild movement.

The Institute is a public-private coalition that began in October 2016 during a World Economic Forum project workshop, from a collaboration between a South Korean NGO, InfollutionZERO, and the Nanyang Technology University in Singapore.

The #DQEveryChild movement has mushroomed since it was launched by the Institute in March 2017, thanks to policy makers and governments recognising the importance of DQ.

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In particular, there is high recognition of the need for the next generation to effectively manage screen time and online threats.

“In Singapore, we have found that 12-year-olds spend over six hours on their electronic devices every day,” says Lock Wai Han, chairman of the Media Literacy Council.

“Given this high rate of exposure, it is necessary to encourage our children to hone their skills in navigating the digital world whilst also teaching them to sidestep the many dangers that fill this world.”

High DQ is associated with safer digital use, higher academic achievement, and greater global awareness and empathy, the initiative says. It identifies eight main elements that define it.

Image: DQ Institute

Equipping our children with these skills could help arm them with the skills to alleviate the “text stress” felt by many adults.

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