Is Texting Hurting our Teens?
Kids will text all times of the day as well as the night. They do it on the bus, in school if they can get away with it, at restaurants, crossing the busy street and probably when they are sitting on the john. Their phone always goes with them no matter where. This even includes the roller coaster at the local theme park. It is done so much by our teens that their thumbs hurt. Can our kids be overusing today’s social networking tools?
According to the Nielson Company, teenagers sent and received an average of 2,272 text messages a month in 2008. This is about 80 texts a day. More recent studies show that kids are now texting one every few minutes (over 3,500 a week). Parents, physicians and psychologists are becoming concerned about this. They fear that it leads to falling grades, anxiety, distractions in school, sleep deprivations and repetitive stress injuries, although there are no conclusive findings on how texting so much affects teens because it has not been now long enough.
A psychologist from MIT, Sherry Turkle, studied texting among teens in Boston for three years. She found that this much texting may be causing a change in the way teens develop. “Among the jobs of adolescence are to separate from your parents, and to find the peace and quiet to become the person you decide you want to be,” she said. “Texting hits directly at both those jobs.”
Because teens are constantly keeping in touch with their parents they are not developing the autonomy they need to. Some teens are texting their parents 15 times a day asking them if they should do this or that. It has also been stated that getting texted every few minutes takes away the ability of teens to finish a thought without being interrupted.
Michael Hausauer, a psychotherapist in Oakland, Calif., said “Texting can be an enormous tool,” he said. “It offers companionship and the promise of connectedness. At the same time, texting can make a youngster feel frightened and overly exposed.”
There is also evidence that texting may affecting teens' thumbs. Physicians, using the information they have from computer users, have stated that they can see this causing permanent damage in the future. Although kids are not supposed to use their phones at school teachers seem to be oblivious as students pretend they have something in their backpack so they can text someone.
I think parents need to band together and put a stop to this excessive texting. I think kids should not be allowed to take their phones to school, nor should they be allowed to have them at restaurants. I myself find them very disturbing when I am in a public space and you have a bunch of people not paying attention to what they should be doing. I also find that teens today don’t seem to know how to carry on a good face to face conversation. I think it is a sad state of affairs. It is my belief that if you are with other people your attention should be on them and not someone who is not there!