Watch Out! Texting While Walking Lands Teen in Trouble

"The influence of cell phones on child pedestrian safety is particularly concerning because cell phones, an oddity a decade ago, are quickly becoming ubiquitous among American schoolchildren," said the study's authors.

Some preliminary studies show that even adult pedestrians get distracted while carrying on cell phone conversations while walking. Still, adults are much more likely to avoid injury, as they are generally more adept at navigating the crosswalk than are children.

4. 'Phantom' Vibrations

While they may pale in comparison to the seriousness of a car accident, the "phantom" vibrations experienced by some habitual mobile device users can be an annoying side effect of the wireless era.

Indeed, many cell phone and BlackBerry users report feeling vibrations when their phones are, in fact, silent.

"If you use your cell phone a lot, it becomes part of you," Dr. William Barr, the chief of neuropsychology at the New York University School of Medicine, told "It's like wearing a tight sock all day. When you take it off, you still feel it there on your foot. If your cell phone is not there, you still feel like it is."

Our reliance on our cell phones may actually be "training" some of us to believe it is vibrating when it is not. In the case of cell phones, people are rewarded when they pick up their calls and read their incoming text messages, which causes them to pick up their cell phones more and more frequently.

"People are rewarded when they are able to detect low amplitude vibrations so they get better and better at responding," said Jon Kaas, a professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University. "It is very rewarding to get the message, so people are able to train their system to detect that signal."

As people repeat this behavior, connections between nerves in their brain become stronger and new ones are formed, which helps to make the behavior automatic.

And sometimes, as is the case with vibrating cell phones, the behavior becomes too automatic.

"People have gotten so good at detecting vibrations that they start responding to false positives -- they think something is there when it is not," Kaas said.

5. Texting Takes a Toll on Thumbs

When it comes to the possible downsides of mobile device use, the side effects are not all in our heads. Our thumbs, it turns out, may also bear the brunt of our reliance on these devices.

The sores and blisters that some experience from too much texting and typing have earned monikers such as "BlackBerry thumb." And while the sore thumbs may seem like a new phenomenon, medical experts say there is a rational explanation for this modern-day nuisance.

"They are really repetitive stress injuries -- pain, numbness, discomfort in the base of the thumbs from overuse," Margot Miller, a physical therapist and president of the Occupational Health Section of the Orthopedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association, told

These sorts of injuries, known as repetitive strain injuries or a repetitive motion disorders, are sometimes minor. But they can also lead to serious medical problems.

"I've seen a significant increase in the number of people with pain in their tendon regions in their thumbs and their fingers," Dr. Richard Brown, an orthopedic hand surgeon at the Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Calif., said.

"I have to send them to the therapist or start them on medicine or put them in splints or, sometimes even operate."

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