Texting tightens family bonds?

New study finds people can be more open, honest in a text message


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 and a majority of women think it tightens relationships within their family.

"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 Cleveland Clinic Clinical Psychologist Dr. Scott Bea, who did not take part in the study.

University of Nebraska researchers had nearly 150 people fill out a questionnaire about their text-messaging practices. They found that in general,  more than 60% of people rarely lie in a text and about half admit they're more likely to exhibit rudeness via text than in-person.  But, nearly 80% say they are more likely to express their feelings honestly via text compared to in-person.

"So, 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," explained Bea. "One of the best ones is to create better connections with each other."

When asked about texting family members, most will respond to a family member's text within five minutes. A majority said they text mom most often and typically it's to convey information.

Over half the women surveyed credit texting for increasing connectivity and enhancing their relationships with family members. Bea says more and more people are staying connected to their family through texts.

"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."

The complete study can be found in The Social Science Journal.