What U Text Can Come Back 2 Hurt U

Lake's Take: B Careful What U Text

By Steve Lake

Text messaging has become the most popular form of cell phone communication in the U.S. The average cell phone user sends more than 5,000 text messages per year (way more than cell phone calls).

The allure of text messaging is simple. First, it's private. People around you can't overhear your conversation. Next, you can respond at your convenience, either immediately, or several hours later, giving you time to think about it. Finally, it's concise, so you can get to the point without wasting time.

As with any new technology, however, there can be unforeseen consequences. In my practice as a divorce lawyer, I am seeing more and more text messages coming back to haunt people in court.

Many people are unaware just how easily their text messages can be retrieved off their phones (even if deleted) or by sending a subpoena to their cell phone provider.

Text messages are being used to prove harassment, infidelity, verbal abuse, date and time verification regarding a person's whereabouts, discovery of secrets, ability to communicate regarding parenting skills, and a whole host of other issues in domestic cases.

Because issues of the heart are emotional, people tend to be careless when texting, not thinking about the potential consequences of documenting their most intimate thoughts. Or they may be angry, tired or even under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They may even accidentally send the text to the wrong person. OOPS!

When counseling my clients, I warn them of the potential pitfalls of cell phone use. Today's smart phones, such as blackberries and iPhones, can blur the line between phones and computers, which have applications such as email, GPS, and video recording.

You can just imagine what your spouse may find if you leave your cell phone unattended.