Smartphones should make our lives easier, but unfortunately, there are a handful of consequences that come with advanced technology. (For example, excessive screen time can lead to anxiety and insomnia in adults, among other negative health effects.) However, one new program is working to bring a little positivity to people with a simple text message.
Aptly named, Text For Humanity is a joint effort between Mental Health America, a nonprofit helping those who struggle with mental illness, and Sinch, a telecommunications company. Together, they created the texting switchboard that allows strangers around the world to send and receive cheerful messages.
Anyone with a cell phone, even the most basic models, can use Text For Humanity. To sign up, you first text the word JOIN to (+1) 833 421-4726. You'll then receive the terms and conditions, which you should read in its entirety. It's important to know that you'll need to provide the service your name, phone number, and location, which is collected by Sinch. We checked and verified the company doesn't sell the information to third parties and doesn't share your phone number with the person receiving your message.
After reading that information, text the word GO, and you'll then disclose your first name and the country in which you live. (Sinch gives this information to whoever gets your message). Then, you write a short note to "put a smile on someone's face" that will go to another user. Once you send your first text, you'll soon receive a positive message from someone else. I tried the service out for myself, and the first text I sent was, "Happy Monday! You got this!" Five minutes later, I received a note from Hannah in England that read, "Hi, stranger. Every person should feel proud of their accomplishments, even if that's just getting out of bed today."
After your first entry, you can continue sending messages however often you'd like, and will then receive one for each text you send. If you ever decide that the service isn't for you, text STOP to opt-out of all communications. The program deletes your information within a week.
According to Text For Humanity's website, since January 16, people have sent more than 16,000 uplifting messages and counting. The project proves it takes a few kind words to encourage someone, even if they're a perfect stranger.