The next time you tell your children to put their smart phones away, think of Austin Wierschke.
The 16-year-old Wisconsin teen won $50,000 (U.S.) this week for his speedy texting skills at the LG United States National Texting Championship in New York. (Yes, there is such a thing. As LifeScience.com points out, MTV made a documentary last year titled “ Thumbs” that examines this very phenomenon.)
In a press release, LG Mobile reps explain the national texting competition started in 2007. At the latest event, 11 finalists were required to spot a phrase and accurately text it. The first eight were then required to accurately text five separate phrases. The quickest six then moved onto the next challenge, called “Txet Sdrawkcab” in which they had to text a phrase as it was given backward. Five contestants went on to text a series of phrases while being distracted by a group of cheerleaders.
The semi-finals had the final three contestants texting in the dark, and competing in a “Text Attack” type-off. You get the idea: the ultimate goal was to show off who had the speediest, error-free thumbs. No word on whether the auto-correct function was a hindrance or a help in these tasks. And like elite athletes, serious competitors likely face some risk of injury.
“I’m so excited, I can’t believe I actually won,” Mr. Wierschke said in the press release. He added that he is excited to go on to the LG Mobile World Cup to vie for the international texting title. (Yes, there is such a thing as that, too.)
But surely it takes a lot of practice to get to this kind of elite level. Wonder how mom and dad felt being around someone who’s constantly tapping away?
Do you think texting teaches kids valuable skills or is it just another distraction? Is there such thing as being too good at texting?